Thursday, 19 April 2012

Big numbers impress little minds - Fracking, exaggeration and hyperbole

Guardian blogger Robert Newman says This is the fracking truth, but as is often the case, the truth isn't included below the headline.
Just when we're told drought has become endemic in the UK, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has given the go-ahead for a process that will desiccate us more than any we've tried before on these islands: hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
High-volume fracking needs between 1.6m and 2.5m gallons (between seven and 11m litres) of water for a single well. All that water is smashing rock. All those millions of litres are giving the shale rock a BTEX injection; BTEX is benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene.
My word, that's a big number! Millions of litres - these water-hogs must be stopped at once! 11,000,000 litres for a single well must be a drain on our valuable water supplies, but my calculating brain tells me that's just over 4 Olympic-sized swimming pools. A quick Google check (do these people ever use Google except to reinforce their distorted perception of reality?)  reveals that UK water companies s supply a total of 18,000,000,000 litres (or 18,000 Megalitres) per day. That means his single well will use, in its lifetime, the equivalent of 0.06% of the daily UK water supply. But he doesn't stop there:
Even in the best-case scenario in which the frackers don't, by some miracle, rupture aquifers and pollute drinking water, the process itself will drain us dry in the vain hope that it might earn us enough foreign capital to pay for the imports of Volvic and Evian that we will need to put on our crops.
 "The process itself will drain us dry" - yeah, right. It would take 1636 wells to consume, over their lifetime, one days worth of UK water.

It's not worth my time or yours to skewer the rest of his unsubstantiated rant, suffice to say he recommends viewing the Gasland documentary.

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