A leftie reader writes in on fracking

December 11th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

A leftie reader e-mailed me:

I too was disappointed with the Green Party’s response to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s review of fracking in New Zealand.

The problem with the is that they are reflexively anti-science when it doesn’t fit their world-view. Their latest position on is the second time in a row the Green Party has attacked the work of the Commissioner.

The last time was in July when Gareth Hughes had a go at her report on Evaluating solar water heating: Sun, renewable energy, and climate change. That report took an extensive look at whether subsidised solar-power units for household hot water actually helped reduce carbon emissions. Turns out the impact at peak times (when gas-powered reserve energy generation capacity is needed) is negligible. 

Ignoring that, Hughes said the evidence-based report was “unhelpful” and “has done solar water heating a disservice”.

Now, remember that the investigation into fracking was undertaken at the request of the Greens – back in March they presented a petition to parliament entitled “Frack No”, which expressly called for “the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to conduct an inquiry into the practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New Zealand, and to report the results of the inquiry to the House.”

Talk about an own-goal.

In a speech in May, Hughes said: “The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is currently investigating fracking. This is the appropriate independent body to have a look at all the facts. Let’s wait for the research to come into effect”. Shame Hughes didn’t take his own advice and began trying to undermine the outcome of the report before it was released.

Well, Dr Jan Wright did have a look at all the facts. And while she says some of the rules governing fracking should be considered, she ruled out any knee-jerk response.

It’s just a shame the Green Party refused to do the same.

A timely reminder that there is a history of attacking the independent Commissioner for the Environment, when her conclusions and the scientific evidence doesn’t support their political campaigns.

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10 Responses to “A leftie reader writes in on fracking”

  1. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    I think there should be a parliamentary inquiry into why Gareth Hughes cannot get it right.

    (Or perhaps he will call for an inquiry into why the inquiries are not substantiating his claims?)

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  2. SPC (5,643 comments) says:

    Findings of the interim fracking report

    Government oversight and regulation
    * Oversight is complex and fragmented.
    * Regulation may be too light-handed.
    * Companies have not earned public trust.

    Environmental risks management
    * Well sites must be chosen carefully, away from earthquake faultlines.
    * Wells must be designed and constructed to prevent leaks.
    * Spills and leaks must be prevented on the surface.
    * Waste must be stored and disposed of with care.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10852128

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  3. Peter (1,714 comments) says:

    Hughes and credibility on fracking appear to be a considerable distance apart.

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  4. bringbackdemocracy (427 comments) says:

    The “team leader” heading the review on fracking for the environment commissioner was a former Gween party parliamentary staff member, who had been a high ranking gween electoral candidate.

    Maybe Gareth will get some sense when he starts to shave.

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  5. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    In hindsight, the campaign for an investigation into fracking may turn out to be a big mistake. This is because the Greens have done this before (with genetic engineering).

    If there were only one instance of the Greens ignoring a report they demanded, they might get away with it. But having two means there is a real risk of a pattern being established, one that paints them in quite a bad light.

    What a shame :)

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  6. David Garrett (7,318 comments) says:

    scrubone: The third time…their reaction to the PCE’s report on the use of 1080 (pretty much that it was the best thing since sliced bread and posed no risk) was worse than this.

    Young Master Hughes and credibility are a long away apart on everything

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  7. kiwi in america (2,456 comments) says:

    This is typical of the left – they will use reports, polls, Commissions of Inquiry – pretty much anything – to advance their agenda and vilify any individual or institution who strays from the party line. In the US the EPA (which under the Obama Administration is pretty hard core and doctrinaire in doing the bidding of the environmental movement) has received zero verifiable complaints on fracking. The states where it is done on a reasonable scale are booming in the middle of a moribund nationwide economy – the oil/gas boom in Ohio is one of the reasons why Romney’s fear mongering over the Obama economy got less traction there due to lower than average unemployment thanks mostly to fracking. Even left leaning states like Maryland that imposed a knee jerk moratorium are reconsidering as they see their neighbours like Pennsylvania moving ahead in exploiting the Marcellus Shale formation.

    Boris Johnson attacked the lunacy of the environmental left in a marvelous article in the Daily Telegraph recently http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/borisjohnson/9733518/Ignore-the-doom-merchants-Britain-should-get-fracking.html. One of my businesses owns licenses to operate a new technology soon to launch in the green energy sector but without a cent of government subsidy anywhere nor needing any legislative scrum screwing to force up the price of traditional fuels in order to be profitable and affordable to the end user. The green nirvana of a renewables fuels future is collapsing under the weight of the no longer affordable massive tax payer subsidies needed to make solar or wind even possible to be built. These sources of energy are significantly more expensive to produce especially compared to energy from coal or gas and are only sustainable with constant price increases for electricity (a back door tax that regressively hits the poor harder) AND tax payer subsidies. Markets left largely alone sort out which technologies will rise or all over time.

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  8. Viking2 (11,491 comments) says:

    Its the stupid fucking Greens/communists. Why is anyone surprised at this?

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  9. Lance (2,662 comments) says:

    The report on Solar Hot Water was a joke.
    The government (through it agency EECA) listed criteria that Solar Hot Water should attain to. Namely be as cheap as possible so more people would take it up, forget other criteria.
    It turns out that all along this was not the goal however. The goal should have been to offset winter load on the grid.

    This was possible if that had been the criteria for the design of the systems, it was not.

    This was a cluster fuck managed by idiots. The result was an industry unjustifiably damaged.
    Beware any government intervention along these lines. It will end badly.

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  10. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Here’s the lesson about the Greens in all this: if it is all about the science but only when the answer fits your predetermined position, then it was never about the science.

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