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Caroline's confusion

Caroline Lucas's arrest yesterday has had the desired effect, winning her a headline slot on the Today Programme. That will be the BBC standing up for law and order then.

In the interview, we learn that Ms Lucas is a bit confused over this whole fraccing thing, referring to it as a "new technology". She also seems to be in a right pickle over the her energy preferences, telling the Radio 4 audience that we should be using "natural gas" rather than "fracked gas". Somebody needs to explain to her that fracked gas is natural gas.

I assume what she means is "conventional gas", which she wants us to believe has lower fugitive methane emissions than gas from fractured wells. However, given that the scientific evidence is that fugitive methane is a small and diminishing problem, this looks like more disinformation from Ms Lucas than an attempt to enlighten.

The audio is below.

Caroline Lucas Today

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Reader Comments (64)

Well what do you expect from someone who liked to be known as "Dr Caroline Lucas - expert on Climate Change" (How she was introduced at a talk i attended) but whose PhD (she has got one) is in:-

"She earned her PhD from the University of Exeter in 1989 with a thesis entitled Writing for Women: a study of woman as reader in Elizabethan romance"

Which says it all.

Aug 20, 2013 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterDoug UK

Dang! You added this as I was inserting my bit to the previous post; it would have been far more apposite here!

Aug 20, 2013 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

James Naughtie asked a few good questions, especially about the need for drilling to get information about the shale gas and oil.
Greens don't want more information, they know cheap oil and gas will stop development of wind and solar

I liked Ms. Lucas's reply about the lowering of energy costs in the US. She is confident the EU will make sure it is a lot more expensive here.

Aug 20, 2013 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Clague

Twice in the interview Caroline mentioned 'CCS' without explaining what Carbon, Capture and Sequestration involves.
She just said in effect "No Shale Gas unless 'strangled' by CCS".
Your correspondents know that CCS doesn't work, Cameron himself has said publicly and categorically that "CCS does not work", yet he allows Ed Davey to give SHELL OIL £1 billion of our money to 'experiment' with CCS at Peterhead Gas-fired power station.
Piping 'plant food' across Scotland and stuffing it under the North Sea is about the most stupid idea so far, yet you and i are funding it to the tune of a billion pounds.
Isn't Peterhead where WE should be protesting ?

Aug 20, 2013 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

God, what a ridiculous woman.

'We still haven't had an honest debate about this', she asserts. And nor will while the likes of Lucas are around.

Agree with Roger Clague about Naughtie. Almost penetrating.

Aug 20, 2013 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered Commenteragouts

"Somebody needs to explain to her [Caroline Lucas] that fracked gas is natural gas" is methane.

Aug 20, 2013 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

Poor woman. So deluded, living in a bubble of ignorance. Like all these religious types, she suffers from verbal diarrhea.

Aug 20, 2013 at 11:27 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Ms Lucas is proof positive that any fool can become an elected representative provided they master the art of plausible authority. She got herself arrested for a cause she herself doesn't understand but I bet she loves being a "martyr". Fool.

Aug 20, 2013 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterceetee

This is the BBC. This is the flagship news program on the BBC.

Why are they peddling a radical Green MP for facts about fracking and the energy industry?

Perhaps the CEO for Ciadrilla needs to go get himself arresed from obstructing the poice or resisting arrest in order to get some aitime to explain some of the facts points you make Andrew?

Aug 20, 2013 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Members of Parliament are supposed to make laws, not wilfully break them in public. She should resign her seat. At least Chris Hulme is no longer in the House.

Aug 20, 2013 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

On the BBC’s “One Show”, there was a report from Balcombe, where the hapless reporter soon discovered the gentle nature of the thugs protestors. What a pity that more was not made of it; however, I suspect it is this drip, drip, drip of facts that is more likely to have an effect than a more blazon exposé that could quite easily be dismissed as “propaganda”.

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

The salient point here is not her stupidity and evident ignorance , but the fact that she is a lawmaker. This is where your primary responsibility as an MP starts and ends. It should not be up the people of Brighton Pavilion to decide that she is not fit to be an MP, she should walk now to the Chiltern Hundreds. You cannot pick and choose which laws you consider fit and proper if you are part of the process of making them.

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrefjon

She should have been asked ....
1) What increase in old people dying from hypothermia would she be happy with?
2) What infant mortality rate increase would she be happy with?

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

… she is a lawmaker.

There is a huge difference between Law and Legislation – a difference that many in the legal profession try to conceal. Law is blind, applicable to everyone; legislation usually gives preference to one group over another. Parliament creates legislation; courts create Law, so MPs (no matter what the colour of their party) are not the makers of Law. The interesting thing to note is that no Parliament is beholden to support the legislation of a previous Parliament. There is a site that explains this far more eloquently (and accurately, I have no doubt) than I can; if you want, I shall try to find it.

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

The UK doesn't have more stupid people than before; it's just that in (post-)modern society the stupid ones are increasingly in positions of influence.

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

She is outstandingly thick, that is all you need to know.

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

It's sad to think people out there actually voted for this deluded fruitcake. Even by the standards of current MPs she is outstanding in her stupidity.

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Fair technical point. However, she should still resign as someone who is part of the legislative process who decides to throw her toys out of the pram if she does not get her way. Law actually is made by parliament but is tinkered by the summary judgement of our judges via the doctrine of precedent. Any law is unfair taking your understanding.

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrefjon

Looks like you guys have your own Nancy Pelosi.

"I believe in natural gas as an alternative to fossil fuels".

Of course, Pelosi had made huge investments in natural gas.

I wonder where your legislative expert invests her money.

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

Perhaps she should have been telling the Radio 4 audience that we should be using our own "national gas" .

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

The Judiciary may be charged with interpreting the legislation that comes out of Parliament, but by pre-announcing her intentions Lucas has demonstrated her contempt for both, not just her own rôle.

Then there is what the electors think. The voters of Balcombe, however, are denied a say in that matter.

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

In my early 20's I did go and protest at the what became known as the 3rd Battle of Newbury, where the likes of Swampy found got his 15 minutes of fame. It was bit of an eye opener for me. I took time off work, I even cycled there. Only to find that most of these protestors were rich kids waiting for Daddy to release there funds whilst they went round seeing the world. I quickly became very disillusioned with the dance music that went on late in to the night and the mess and chaos they created. Most of them just seemed to be there because this was where the party was.

Shame on Ms Lucas for being a mouthpiece for these people.

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

Caroline Lucas gave a statement yesterday saying :

Despite the opposition to fracking being abundantly clear, the government has completely ignored the views of those they are supposed to represent. When the democratic deficit is so enormous, people are left with very little option but to take peaceful, non-violent direct action.

Her understanding of democracy seems quite lacking. Only a third of Balcombe villagers were opposed to the fracking that isn't actually taking place nor has planning permission. Time and again we see a small group of almost professional protesters agitating for their point of view that encourages the industrialisation of the countryside through subsidised windmills.

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

I am still working on a Dufus Scale - a log. measure of gullibility. Trouble is I have too many candidates for 10, and I can't fairly populate the rest of the scale by example. Where do I put Miliband, Worthington, Davey, Lucas, Huhne?

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterfilbert cobb

Does anyone know what procedure she will have been through as an arrested person?

Is it a case of - put in a police car, driven to the local cop shop, hang around a bit, fill out a few forms, take taxi to BBC, appear on primetime news show?

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

She also seemed not to know that methane and natural gas are the same thing. Unfortunately, Naughtie didn't seem to know, either.

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:56 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Lucas has a BA in English Lit. so no PhD, not qualified to do science. About correct for a Green MP.

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Peter S

I don't know why they didn't invoke the terrorism act. It seems to apply to everything else.

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:58 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

@ Radical Rodent, never thought I'd ever say this but am impressed by the BBC's The One Show - informative and objective reporting, with Leicester Uni's Joseph Dutton calmly refuting Viv Westwood's "fire when you light the tap water" claim, amongst others. Well done, the Beeb. At the end, the aggressive bloke who shoved his hand in the camera and accused journalist Tony Livesey of resorting to "right-wing, fascist talking points" - just because he was asking awkward questions - really did not help his own cause. It's well worth a glance on iPlayer.

Aug 20, 2013 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

She is not intelligent or informed. This makes her awesome, imo.

Aug 20, 2013 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

I am still working on a Dufus Scale - a log. measure of gullibility. Trouble is I have too many candidates for 10, and I can't fairly populate the rest of the scale by example. Where do I put Miliband, Worthington, Davey, Lucas, Huhne?

Aug 20, 2013 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterfilbert cobb

Mathematics is struggling to help you there, Filbert. These people are quite refractory to anything so logical.

Aug 20, 2013 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I wish someone at the Beeb would simply ask her how she proposes to keep the lights on.

Aug 20, 2013 at 1:04 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


Law is not made by parliament, statute is. Law is made or modified by Judges. But i see what you mean.

Aug 20, 2013 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

On that list of questions that Lucas should have been asked is one, in relation to her response to the fact that the US has reduced its CO2 output by 30% as a result of shale. She claims (no evidence) that the coal that the US would have burned has been exported and that the nasty CO2 Carbon would be exported with it and still cause damage to the world's climate.

Question: Do you have any qualms about China's burning of coal in the power stations that they are building at the rate of one a day? Are you petitioning the Chinese government to close its coal power stations?

Aug 20, 2013 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

Found it! (I think – haven’t taken the time to read it all):

Aug 20, 2013 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

RR - 12.19
You are almost right.
The correct position is that no parliament can bind its successor.
So there is no parliamentary reason why this parliament cannot repeal the Climate Change Act or the next one repeal whatever the Act is that created fixed-term parliaments (or overturn Cameron's promise of a referendum on Europe!).

John Marshall
It is parliament that makes the law. Judges are bound to follow that law but will always interpret Common Law in the light of social evolution since by definition there is no Statute to refer to.
Unfortunately parliament has devised the nasty habit in recent years (often with EU directives as its excuse) of passing enabling legislation which is then enacted by Ministerial Order. The judges are then left with the unenviable task of trying to interpret these Orders.
But the principle of British government still is that law is made by parliament, not by the justiciary.

Aug 20, 2013 at 1:18 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Snotrocket: you claim that China is building coal-fired power stations "at the rate of one a day".

Really? Do you have any evidence to support that?

Aug 20, 2013 at 1:46 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

The BBC last evening ended the report on Balcombe with a closing statement
"Cuadrilla have not got a license for fracking" instead of Cuadrilla have not applied for a license to frack and will do if they need one"

I used to be paranoid until I noticed all those people following me around :-)

Aug 20, 2013 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

I doubt that much gas is released as fugitive gas because it would be a fire/explosion hazard. Proper drilling operations undertake the following
1. Several diameters of steel casing are installed with the widest on the outside and the narrowest on the inside . Each diameter of casing is used to seal out a gas producing or water producing horizon.

2. The steel casing is grouted into position which is gas tight. The grout seal is tested to ensure tightness.

3. Pressure monitors and blow out preventer is installed to stop uncontrolled release of high pressure gas.

Gas and oil are only prevent because they have been sealed in by low permeability geological units.

Gas rising from a horizon into a higher one is potential fire/explosion hazard and therefore the drilling crews do not want this to happen.

Perhaps the greatest incentive for a drilling crew to prevent a release of gas is that it could kill them. if there is an invasion of the drilling site , then there is clear risk to Health and Safety .

When visiting a industrial site the following procedures need to be followed.
1. Meeting with H and S staff who instruct on safe procedures and places where people can visit.
2. Issuing of correct Personal Protective Equipment- boots with steel caps and soles, high viz jackets, helmets, googles/glasses, ear protection, gas monitors, etc, etc.
3. Where explosive gas is present often no sources of a spark can be permitted - no electrical watches, calculators, phones , laptops. All equipment must be intrinsically safe.
4. No equipment can be touched.
5. All visitors to be accompanied by member of staff.
6. No smoking, eating or drinking unless in designated space.
7. No-one to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Any un-authorised entry to drill site is surely illegal under H and Safety Legislation even if there is no work being undertaken.

Aug 20, 2013 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

>On the BBC’s “One Show”, there was a report from Balcombe, where the hapless reporter soon discovered the gentle nature of the thugs protestors

They want to literally and metaphorically punch our lights out...

Aug 20, 2013 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

Snotrocket: "Snotrocket: you claim that China is building coal-fired power stations "at the rate of one a day"."

My understanding was that they are building and opening them at a rate of about one every 6 days ie completing about 60 per year.

Aug 20, 2013 at 2:09 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

I watched Caroline Lucas being interviewed on BBC Breakfast. I thought she was not her usual ebbulient self - probably feeling a bit chastened by being bundled into a police van by Sussex's finest..
Suzanna Reid (who was doing a passable imitation of a female Jezza) said to Ms Lucas at one point: 'But they (Quadriilla) aren't fracking...'
'No, but they might...'

Aug 20, 2013 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Stacey: If you complain to the BBC about the use of particular phrase such as reporting the currently drilling well at Balcombe as a shale gas well (which they did in the R2 news bulletin on Saturday and I complained about) and you then hear a subsequent bulletin on the same station where they changed the phrase to something more appropriate, there is an overwhelming compulsion to think that you actually caused the change.

At least that's what happens to me...:-)

Aug 20, 2013 at 2:14 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

"But they (Cuadrilla) aren't fracking.."

A point that hasn't really been made enough, IMO.

Aug 20, 2013 at 2:15 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Robin Guenier and TS: Forgive my hyperbolic claims: I should not take my lead from Lucas. My bad. According to GWPF it is China AND India who are building 4 a week.

Aug 20, 2013 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

A friend has pointed out that obviously natural gas is green - it's in the name, stupid. Actually I think Lucas thinks natural gas is fairy farts.

Aug 20, 2013 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Snotrocket: I rather doubt that the China and India "4 a week"claim is accurate. Do you have the GWPF reference and what evidence did they provide?

It's important such claims are accurate. Otherwise we are easily discredited.

Aug 20, 2013 at 2:28 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

'Fugitive' methane! The hours that must be spent by campaigners searching for the most emotive adjectives.

George Monbiot has come up with his own alternative to shale gas- sewerage gas- but his fugitive methane might be even more troublesome. He might have a point- most people would pay you to take it away, and its even zero rated for VAT!

Aug 20, 2013 at 2:29 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

...Dufus Scale... Where do I put Miliband, Worthington, Davey, Lucas, Huhne?

Try 15...

Aug 20, 2013 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chappell

Natural gas is green..and biodegradable!

Aug 20, 2013 at 3:10 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

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