THERE are costs and benefits to everything in life. But Andrew Eaton-Lewis’s rant (“How dare the frackers label me an extremist”, Perspective, 28 February) about coal gasification and fracking concerned only supposed costs and failed to mention the benefits from cheaper gas for heating and transport fuel, reductions in fuel poverty, security of supply and freedom from arbitrary control by wayward regimes of our energy supplies.
I would be more sympathetic if he had shown some awareness of the detailed investigations on unconventional gas supplies already carried out or that he appreciated that carbon capture is much more easily applied at a gasification well-head, than on the top of Longannet.
It is easy to trawl the web, find a couple of marginal cases and then, by implying these are routine, frighten an uninformed public without explaining the benefits or the very rare frequency with which these events occur. Hundreds of thousands of world-wide investigations have shown underground coal gasification using deep seams and fracking using deep shale are entirely safe technologies that provide enormous benefits to the communities that use them.
I live in Penicuik in which earthquakes are frequent but very rarely noticed even though most exceed the level of regulatory control on those allowed by fracking. (There is a table in the Scottish Government report.)
The opposition to unconventional gas technologies arises from the imagined belief that humankind can survive without fossil fuels or nuclear energy; it can’t. But we do also need governments that lead and are not cowed by a loud but uninformed minority.
(Prof) Tony Trewavas
Scientific Alliance Scotland
North St David Street