Post-truth media
Aug 12, 2013
Bishop Hill in Energy: shale, Greens, Media

In this morning's Telegraph, David Cameron has issued another call for the country to get behind shale gas. message to the country is clear – we cannot afford to miss out on fracking. For centuries, Britain has led the way in technological endeavour: an industrial revolution ahead of its time, many of the most vital scientific discoveries known to mankind, and a spirit of enterprise and innovation that has served us well down the decades. Fracking is part of this tradition, so let’s seize it.

That's all fine and dandy, but take a look at what the BBC has to say in its coverage of the PM (H/T Ron).

Fracking - short for "hydraulic fracturing" - involves drilling deep underground and releasing a high-pressure mix of water, sand and hundreds of chemicals to crack rocks and release gas stored inside.

"Hundreds of chemicals". I don't think so. That is just normal BBC embellishment of the green story line.

Meanwhile Roger Harrabin tweets a link to a story from the Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg, who enjoys a reputation for a less-than-diligent approach to truth and accuracy. Harrabin says that fracking is "the latest thing sucking Texas dry", and the story is about overuse of water:

Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry's outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse.

A shale well uses something of the order of 5 million gallons of water when it is being fracked. Let us compare this to a small farm, let's say of 100 acres (the average farm in Texas is 500 acres or more, but that will include ranches). An acre-foot of water is something over 300,000 gallons, so to water our small farm to a depth of two inches is going to use roughly the same amount of water, and on a regular basis too.

And according to another analysis, water use by shale wells in Texas is less than 1% of total water withdrawls in that state. There may be a case for not fracking in arid regions in times of water shortage, but that's about it.

And they wonder why the MSM is dying.


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