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The Truth Behind Frack Off

April 17, 2018

By Paul Homewood


I was at the Mall last weekend, and came across this local anti fracking group holding some sort of a workshop.

One wonders if they realise where the energy they use every day comes from?


I am pretty sure the residents of Eckington would not want a nuclear plant built next door, nor have their local forests chopped down for pellets.

And regardless of the hype and wishful thinking, there is simply no way that renewable energy will substantially change the picture in the foreseeable future.

Of course, they may be quite happy to rely on imported oil and gas from the Middle East and Russia, to keep them in their comfortable lifestyles. If so, they might get a shock to learn about the Frack Off Extreme Energy Action Network, of which they appear to be a part.

Frack Off is the UK wide group set up in 2011 to campaign against fracking, including demonstrations, blockades and trespass. The Telegraph reported in 2013 how it was set up by Dr Edward Lloyd-Davies, an astrophysicist who became a full-time protester after his academic funding ran out, and how the group tries to keep secret the identities of its leaders.

Frack Off’s website still refuses to publish any details about its leaders or funding. But they do not attempt to hide their world view.

As would be expected, they believe that there is already a climate crisis, and their battle against fracking is merely a side issue as far as they are concerned.

But what are their proposals?

While they want to immediately cut back the use of fossil fuels worldwide, they are not keen on some of the alternatives:

According to their website, for instance, they are none too keen on bio-energy:


Bio-Energy is a broad category which includes all energy generated from burning materials produced (recently) by the biosphere. While humans have obtained energy from such sources throughout their history, the amounts of energy that industrial society now demands cannot possibly be sourced in a sustainable way. Every year we burn a quantity of fossl fuels which it would take the biosphere 400 years to produce. Bio-Energy includes liquid biofuels (or agrofuels) such as palm oil as well as biomass such as wood pellets. The growth in Bio-Energy is devastating large areas of the globe and leading to hunger and poverty for many. Bio-Energy requires a colossal quantity of feedstock and huge areas of growing land. This land must either be land that was previously used to grow food or land that was previously forests etc. Either way the results are not good.

They also regard nuclear power as part of the extreme energy sector, which they claim is destroying the world.

Even CCS does not meet their objectives:

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a technology aimed at reducing the climate-destabilising impact of burning fossil fuels by capturing the carbon dioxide (a ‘greenhouse gas‘) and storing it somewhere, usually underground. Despite CCS being an unproven technology, it is used worldwide by energy companies and governments to justify new fossil fuel projects.

There’s no time to wait for a technology that may or may not work. The Department of Energy and Climate Change say that CSS will not be ready to deploy commercially until at least the early 2020’s. We need to stop using fossil fuels now. Cuts of 6% a year in emissions are needed to have a chance of not destabilising the climate, starting now and resulting in over a 90% cut over the next few decades.

Indeed, Frack Off’s revealed their true beliefs in this blog in 2012:

Despite this there is a massive push to make CCS the alternative to having to worry about actual cutting of emissions. At both the EU and UK government levels, CCS trials are being encouraged with the offer of large grants to energy companies. A government funding competition initiated four years ago to fund a large scale trial of CCS ended in a shambles in October after a consortium led by ScottishPower pulled out of plans to build facilities to capture a sixth of the carbon dioxide emitted by Longannet, the UK’s second-largest coal power station. The reason given was that the £1 billion grant on offer was insufficient to ensure that the project would be economically viable. This has added to a string of recent cancellations of CCS projects worldwide, including the recent cancellation of a $1.4 billion pilot project in Canada because it was not economically viable. In the UK the government’s response has been to announce a new competition to try to resurrect CCS trials. Whether this one will have any more success than the last remains to be seen. However to see CCS in these terms is to miss the whole point. Whether it ever gets off the ground or not is irrelevant. CCS is about psychology not engineering. As long as there is the promise of CCS dangled before them it will allow those people who cannot face abandoning the current system an excuse for not facing up to the change that needs to happen. CCS could be considered as part of a category of “Extreme Greenwash” along with similar ideas like geoengineering.

Put simply, Frack Off are virulently anti-fossil fuels, for all sorts of reasons. Emissions of CO2 are only part of the problem, as far as they are concerned. Introducing CCS will not only allow fossil fuels to continue to be extracted, but, as it is an energy intensive process, will actually serve to increase demand for them.

For them, fossil fuels are not only destroying the climate, they are also destroying the environment, the economy and global wellbeing.

So, given all of this, you would think that Frack Off would be determined to push renewable energy as hard as possible. Yet I cannot find one single mention of wind and solar power on their website.

So, what is their solution? Simple – we are all using far too much energy.

Again, this is what their website says:

The Massive Increase In Global Human Energy Consumption By Source Over The Last 200 Years

The most obvious insight that can be gained from viewing extreme energy as a process is that the dominant factor driving that process is energy consumption. Extreme energy has always existed but due to the huge amounts of energy used by the present system it is proceeding at a much faster rate. The higher the rate of energy consumption, the faster that resources are depleted and the more rapidly the process of energy extraction becomes more extreme. The insistence that present levels of energy consumption must be maintained, and even increased, makes this process inevitable. On the other hand reducing energy consumption would slow this progression towards more extreme extraction techniques. The present system seems unlikely to adopt such a course however. The intensity of extraction effort needed translate pretty directly into the fraction of the world economy that must be devoted to energy extraction, and therefore dictates the fraction that is left over for the rest of society. If allowed to continue unchecked extreme energy will result in massive, though very poorly understood, changes to the world we live in.

To summarise the process definition is: Extreme Energy is the process whereby energy extraction methods grow more intense over time, as easier to extract resources are depleted. The process is driven by unsustainable energy consumption and is important because extraction effort is strongly correlated with damage to both society and the environment.

I doubt whether the mixture of NIMBYs and gullible do-gooders who are fighting fracking in Eckington will be happy cutting their energy consumption to the bone, along with their standard of living.

Indeed it might just occur to them that the massive increase in energy consumption in the last 200 years correlates pretty closely with a similar increase in living standards, quality of life, standards of health and so on.

Frack Off’s role is to encourage and assist the formation of local groups, and provide support with materials, advice, information and advertising.

As far as those local groups are concerned, it’s a bit like inviting the devil into your parlour for a game of cards!

  1. Broadlands permalink
    April 17, 2018 6:14 pm

    “regardless of the hype and wishful thinking, there is simply no way that renewable energy will substantially change the picture in the foreseeable future.”

    And, there is no fracking way that renewables can rebury carbon to lower atmospheric CO2 back to 350 ppm…a Paris climate agreement goal…and especially by using solar and wind for CCS technology.

  2. Joe Public permalink
    April 17, 2018 6:18 pm

    If they display a ‘diagram’ ‘explaining’ how dangerous fracking is supposed to be, it sure won’t be the diagram used by the University of Nottinghan to explain the process:

    • HotScot permalink
      April 17, 2018 7:11 pm

      No Public

      Thanks for that diagram, I didn’t realise the fracturing process is so deep and so small. Never going to cause subsidence, unlike unused coal mines undermining the whole country.

      Half the problem is, in my opinion, that some idiot termed the process ‘hydraulic fracturing’ for public consumption, which conjoured up images of great cracks appearing across the countryside gushing toxic fluid.

      Couldn’t they have called it ‘micro extraction’ or something?

      Perhaps some clever bod could come up with a diagram demonstrating the material removal relative to fracking, and traditional coal mining Vs the calorific value of the combustible material from both.

      If that makes sense.

      • HotScot permalink
        April 17, 2018 7:12 pm


        Joe Public!!!

        Lousy tablet spell check. I should know by this time to proof read.

      • Joe Public permalink
        April 17, 2018 7:45 pm

        The anti-frackers all prefer the diagram used by the BBC. Can’t think why.

        From it, using the height of the temporary drilling rig (~40m) as a unit of vertical scale, EVERY other vertical unit is deliberately misrepresented.

      • HotScot permalink
        April 17, 2018 10:38 pm

        Isn’t Auntie such a gem.

        Sorry, I just threw up.

    • Auld Fossil permalink
      April 18, 2018 8:34 am

      Thanks for the image. According to the University of Nottingham MOOC that diagram comes from a company called Ground Gas Solutions Ltd (GGS)

      The fact that the gas is found at a depth of over 2 km below the surface is not something that the BBC’s diagram shows. This natural gas is trapped in Carboniferous marine shales & mudrocks that still contains the original undrinkable seawater of the ancient ocean in which the organic remains were first deposited. The diagram also shows that the drinking water aquifer is glacial sand filled with modern rainwater that lies within the surface boulder clay. The potable water supply is not in any way connected to the gas charged shale 2 km below the surface.

    • mwhite permalink
      April 18, 2018 6:11 pm

      They may be fracking up in Stoke.

      “The EGS concept is to extract heat by creating a subsurface fracture system to which water can be added through injection wells. Creating an enhanced, or engineered, geothermal system requires improving the natural permeability of rock. Rocks are permeable due to minute fractures and pore spaces between mineral grains. Injected water is heated by contact with the rock and returns to the surface through production wells, as in naturally occurring hydrothermal systems. EGS are reservoirs created to improve the economics of resources without adequate water and/or permeability. “

  3. April 17, 2018 6:24 pm

    Right, so Frack Off is against not only FF but also bio, for very good reasons, against nuclear, wind and solar for economic and environmental reasons, presumably against tide and other nonsensical panjandrums as well. In the language of philosophy their platform is intellectually consistent. That’s not a bad thing.

    • HotScot permalink
      April 17, 2018 7:17 pm


      They’ll probably be happy going back to pit ponies, canaries, and children in mines because the extraction process is so much slower.

  4. April 17, 2018 6:27 pm

    Having been born and lived my early life in Derbyshire, not too far from Eckington, I recall it as a coal mining town with ironworks as well. Previous generations of Eckingtonians would be turning in their graves at the idiocy that is now residing in Eckington.

    • HotScot permalink
      April 17, 2018 7:19 pm

      You mean you lived By Eck……ington.


  5. John Scott permalink
    April 17, 2018 6:40 pm

    People see the flaming kitchen faucets in Pennsylvania caused by natural gas in ground water and the people and politicians act like idiots. A deep ground water well would normally be not more than 100 feet so a fracking well fully cased to a depth of 3+ kilometers is not likely to pollute ground water with gas. The spillage of used fracking compounds can easily be handled safely. So what is the problem other than foreign funded vocal fools mouthing off. Governments seem to be afraid of offending these fools in this PC snowflake age.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      April 17, 2018 7:23 pm

      I grew up in PA with friends and relatives having gas wells on their properties.
      In one case, a Great Aunt used it for heat and light. We little ones didn’t like the smell.
      The water didn’t taste good, either. Another family added a swimming pool, using a RR-boxcar, and heated it with gas.
      No fracking necessary. Coal was easy to find, but oil at or near the surface was 20 miles away. That was west of the Allegheny River, and glaciated, while our area was not.

      Truth be told, the Radon that seeps up from those same layers is a bigger issue.
      I left the region in 1965.

      • HotScot permalink
        April 17, 2018 7:33 pm

        John F. Hultquist

        How old was your great aunt when she passed on, assuming she has.

      • John F. Hultquist permalink
        April 18, 2018 4:33 am

        Great Aunt Lizzy was a school teacher in a 1-room school. She was my mother’s teacher and long retired (and widowed) when I was 5 or 6 (about 1950). When we visited, my sister and I had to recite the US States and Capitals.
        Somewhere I have records of this family stuff, but it is not at hand. Anyway, she died (likely) in her mid-80s. A family branch that was married-into lives to be 100+. A cousin just reached 100 this month.

        Pennsylvania does have an active Radon research effort.

      • April 18, 2018 11:26 am

        John F. Hultquist: My dad’s family was all from Meadville from the 1700’s. My grandmother had uncles in the early oil business. I have their desk and ledgers. As a result, she went to Allegheny College in the 1890’s. Several of those Brawley brothers, sold the oil interests and went to Seattle where they were involved in land development.

    • HotScot permalink
      April 17, 2018 7:29 pm

      John Scott

      It’s the Ruskies wot dunnit.

      Where does the funding come from for this mob?

      Perhaps a former KGB man? No wonder they don’t reveal their structure or sources.

      We really are such bleeding heart suckers in this country. One of the follies of liberal elite wealth I guess. Instead of working, they’re thinking, and they really should stick to working, thinking’s far to much work for them.

      • Nigel S permalink
        April 18, 2018 8:55 am

        Yes indeed, best make sure the devil doesn’t make the tea during the card game.

    • Peter Davis permalink
      April 26, 2018 5:26 am

      Were there flaming kitchen faucets in Pennsylvania before fracking was developed?

      • dave permalink
        April 26, 2018 7:15 am

        “Were there flaming kitchen faucets in Pennsylvania before fracking…?”

        Of course. Methane is a common contaminant of domestic water wells in districts with shallow gas reserves. Completely harmless.

      • nigel permalink
        April 26, 2018 7:36 am

        If, like most people, you get your water from the water company, the risk of your kitchen combusting from using their product is precisely ZERO. The various risks from your own carelessness, however, are significant.

        Any human activity, whether industrial or domestic, makes a mess of something.

        In fact, anything that lives produces waste of some sort.
        It is called excreting. The general belief is that excretions were the origin of the methane.

      • nigel permalink
        April 26, 2018 9:22 am

        In the seven years to Sep 2014, there were 109 instances in Pennsylvania of private water supplies being affected by methane presumed to relate to new oil and gas operations.

        To put this in some sort of context, 20,000 oil and gas borings were made in this time, and there are more than 1,000,000 private water supplies in the State.

        The first known report of flammable water-wells in Susquehanna County was made in 1873.

  6. Colin Brooks permalink
    April 17, 2018 7:01 pm

    I still can not understand how anyone in their right mind would want to reduce (or remove) atmospheric CO2, the discussion as to how it should be done are therefore stupidity heaped upon ignorance.


    • Colin Brooks permalink
      April 17, 2018 7:05 pm

      discussionS sorry 🙂

      • HotScot permalink
        April 17, 2018 7:30 pm

        Passed me by mate.

        I was more interested in the content (excellent) than the spelling.

  7. Gray permalink
    April 17, 2018 8:48 pm

    I remember a letter to the Telegraph from one of the great and good from the Lords who thought fracking might be useful as he had read about compressed air being used to reduce compacted soil around tree roots.
    He thought fracking might have a similar result.

  8. April 18, 2018 1:16 am

    Sorry if I am misunderstanding, it seems that the charts in the link you provide (right underneath the first pie chart in your article) disagree with the chart that you show.

  9. April 18, 2018 3:19 am

    The logic is:
    1. In the near future fossil fuels will be replaced.
    2. The technology to do so is available now but fissil fuel conspirators prevent its use.
    3. We have defeated or almost defeated them; tomorrow we will have the technology.
    4. Additiional fossil fuels are not needed. Ever.
    5.Just you see. By next week, if not earlier.

  10. Bitter@twisted permalink
    April 18, 2018 7:16 am

    Frack Off are clearly an eclectic mix of ecoloons, watermelons and “useful idiots”, probably funded by Putin.
    Almost certainly dangerous.

    • Athelstan permalink
      April 18, 2018 9:52 am

      There are any number of megalomaniac foreign born/Hungarian/ Sierra club yankee billionaires who would just as easily see Britain ‘go cold and hungry’ just to please the cultural Marxists – as maybe Vladimir Putin might, and then there are the Gulf Satraps and big brother in Riyadh, Qatar has form, certainly elements within the Brussels-Berlin matrix would rather not allow the UK to get fracking, quite apart from the mega rich, well heeled UK nimbys.
      And Brits, going green loony, the don’t need much encouragement these days, thank the education blob, the whole caboodle (UK HMG/administration) for that.

  11. Charles Wardrop, permalink
    April 18, 2018 8:15 am

    Typical brainless/unthinking Greenery, prominent also among politicians, not only Green or SNParties: why?

  12. Phoenix44 permalink
    April 18, 2018 8:50 am

    One of the groups that persist with the Leftie delusion that everything that keeps them healthy, wealthy and safe will somehow persist after they have destroyed the economy.

    If you reduce the productivity of people, then less will be produced. But these fools ignore that and think that either it will be just fine – we all consume too much anyway – or it won’t really happen.

  13. Old Englander permalink
    April 18, 2018 8:59 am

    There is nothing new about “fracking” which has been used in the oil industry since the 1940’s. Idiotic or not, it has been called “hydraulic fracturing” since then too.

    What’s new is the application to organic shales, which until about 10 yrs ago were considered to be wholly impermeable seal rocks impossible to squeeze anything out of at all. Unlike so-called conventional reservoirs (sandstones and limestones), where “fracking” is an expensive extra, in shales it is of necessity routine. Plus drilling wells “horizontal” along the strata so that you can get oil or gas out from the full length of the well.

    The really revolutionary aspect is getting anything at all out of shales, thus wholly revising ideas about hydrocarbon reserves, a natural resource the world didn’t know it had until very recently. The petroleum economics literature calls it “LTO” (Light Tight Oil). Because of a daft journalistic selection of a label (fracking), shale hydrocarbon production has become confused in the public mind with only part of the process. And that part (hydraulic fracturing) strangely enough isn’t new at all.

    And yes, Nottingham’s diagram is far more honest and accurate than the Beeb’s.

    • Bitter@twisted permalink
      April 18, 2018 6:02 pm

      Nottingham’s diagram more accurate than the BBCs?
      Surely not?!

  14. billbedford permalink
    April 18, 2018 9:13 am

    Isn’t Frack-off just the political wing of the Sealed Knot Society?

    Just asking since they both seem to want to return the country to the 17th century…..

  15. thguvnor permalink
    April 18, 2018 10:36 am

    Well it seems not all left wing governments are continuing being ‘deep green’ and therefore missing an opportunity…:

  16. Robin Guenier permalink
    April 18, 2018 10:53 am

    An extract from the Frack Off website:

    While the UK is only one small part of a bigger picture, given our historical responsibility for (quite literally) blazing the trail to the end-state of industrial civilisation, the UK would probably be more influential than most in encouraging humanity to pull back from the brink.

    So it’s another organisation that, like the UK government, still holds the embarrassing, “white man’s burden”, neo-colonial view that, if we set a good example, the rest of the world will take notice and follow suit.

  17. April 18, 2018 11:39 am

    “Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a technology aimed at reducing the climate-destabilising impact of burning fossil fuels by capturing the carbon dioxide (a ‘greenhouse gas‘) and storing it somewhere, usually underground.”

    1. “carbon dioxide (a ‘greenhouse gas‘)”. Carbon dioxide on one of a group of naturally occurring ATMOSPHERIC gases. It is only a “greenhouse gas” when in the confines of said greenhouse.

    2. “CAPTURING the carbon dioxide (a ‘greenhouse gas‘) and STORING IT SOMEWHERE”
    In my field, we refer to that system as plants. They just love the stuff.

    3. It seems as though the major “distablisising” impact was astrophysicist, Dr Edward Lloyd-Davies, losing his academic funding.

    • Broadlands permalink
      April 18, 2018 5:11 pm

      Joan… the problem with planting lots of trees is the conflict with the “urgent” need to use CCS technology to quickly store geologically the oxidized carbon “somewhere”. With carbon going and gone, all the many required solar panel and wind turbine “farms” (and those inedible trees) will take away from the arable land used for agriculture…food. Those plants that animals need also love CO2. And those trees? They will be used for other purposes too. This plan is fracking crazy. Recycle it?

      • April 19, 2018 11:55 am

        Don’t believe I mentioned “trees” as such. In the late ’60’s, some ecologists got all hot and bothered about cutting of the South American “rain forests” (jungles) as it would add CO2. Then it was found that the Arctic tundra was happily sucking up the extra CO2 and burping.

        Nature maintains a balance and likely does not need out help. What we urgently need is for these Marxist groups to be held accountable and laughed out of existence.

  18. Green Sand permalink
    April 18, 2018 1:09 pm

    Eckington against Fracking are also well supported by their local MP – Lee Rowley, the first Conservative MP in the area since 1935!

    Click to access Lee%20Rowley%20-%20Fracking%20Objection_0.pdf

  19. BLACK PEARL permalink
    April 18, 2018 7:08 pm

    Whats the situation world wide on shale ?
    Is every country sitting on large reserves I wonder ?
    If so the price of oil is going to drop significantly once they all start tapping it I would of thought !

    • Old Englander permalink
      April 19, 2018 8:45 am

      Good question. Ask yourself this: how credible is it that the USA, and only the USA, should have been so blessed by geology and Nature that shale hydrocarbon reserves are exclusive to that country ? (Ans: it isn’t credible). Argentina is next up for shale hydrocarbon (imo) and China and Russia are believed to be sitting on lots. Ditto Saudi Arabia.

  20. April 18, 2018 8:13 pm

    It’s not true that the website doesn’t mention solar or wind
    I can find say 20 mentions of windpower
    But maybe you mean those pages are not easily accessible from the homepage.

  21. Russ Wood permalink
    April 19, 2018 1:23 pm

    In a discussion on ‘green energy’ on a South African blog:
    ” Alternatively, move back into cave, use fire at the entrance for light and warmth, use skin of killed animals as clothes and use a hole in the ground for toilet.”
    -with the response:
    “No thanks, I don’t want to live in Boksburg.”

    (you can substitute any run-down industrial area of your choice).

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