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Fracking capitalism for a fossil free future

From Algiers to Falkirk, New Brunswick to Colorado, Pungesti to Salford, Zurawlow to Balcombe, people are uniting to halt a new and damaging industry. They are using protest, lobbying, the courts – any tool they have to stop their communities being fracked. They have faced down police with guns and tear gas and local councils who support the corporations against their voters.

Fracking CapitalismA new pamphlet – Fracking Capitalism – exposes the unholy alliance that wants to bring this risky business to a community near you. Politicians are bribed with promises of jobs, tax revenues, political donations and cheap energy, and unite with the corporations to try to convince people it will bring lower fuel bills – it won't and we explain why.

In a chapter entitled “Trapped by the corporate-state web”, the pamphlet reveals how the connections between lobbyists, former BP chief Lord Browne, government departments and ministers got the moratorium on fracking lifted. New licences are being granted, tax breaks announced and the planning system brought into line with the needs of the frackers.

Yet even this is not enough for prime minister David Cameron who told journalists:

On fracking, we do need to take action across the board to help enable this technology to go ahead. There is a worry people are going to have to go through so many different permits in order to start fracking that they simply won’t bother, so we need a simplified system.

So the government may use its reserve powers to decide permits at ministerial level, cutting out the troublesome and slow-moving local authorities, and community opposition.

In Scotland too, it is Holyrood that will decide and the SNP government has unconventional gas in its sights. A little publicised section of its policy paper Maximising the return from oil in an independent Scotland states:

New global opportunities have emerged around the recovery of unconventional oil and gas. Given the skills, technology and expertise which resides in Scottish companies, the development and recovery of these resources could potentially offer significant benefits for the Scottish oil and gas supply-chain. However, it will also be important to develop an improved insight into the wider economic impacts of global unconventional reserves on conventional markets.

ecological considerations are secondary in an economic system driven by profit

Get it? The worry is not that global fracking will wreck eco-systems, fresh water supplies and speed up global warming – just that it might produce so much cheap gas that Scotland's oil and gas industry will suffer. But to offset this, Scotland can become a global fracking technology powerhouse!

Imposing fracking has devastating consequences for communities and their environments, and it will speed up climate change. The pamphlet calls it The road to ecocidal suicide and details all the evidence.

Fracking Capitalism shows how these ecological considerations are secondary in an economic system driven by profit and shareholder value. Industrialising with fossil fuel energy has caused climate change, and fracking is just the latest chapter.

Greenhouse Gas responsibilityResearch published this week in the magazine Climatic Change traces responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions over the last 100 years to just 90 corporations. They are one third corporate giants like BP, Chevron and Exxon-Mobil, one third nation states like China and Russia, and one third state-owned (or formerly state-owned) companies such as British Coal. It is a who's who of the corporate/state web that rules our lives.

Fracking Capitalism offers an alternative to staying on this path – an action plan for the eco-social crisis these giants have created. Going beyond building resistance to fracking, to creating a movement to put power firmly in the hands of presently powerless communities, is what is proposed.

A World to Win wants to hear what you think about these ideas and stands ready to work with individuals, campaigns and movements for this kind of fundamental change.

Penny Cole
Environment Editor
21 November 2013

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