Green politics, philosophy, history, paganism and a lot of self righteous grandstanding.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Who Doesn't Want To Frack?

Fracking is not right popular it's not.

Whether you're a NIMBY or an outside agitator, worried about the value of your house or Climate Change, you are not alone. It sometimes seems that the people who oppose wind farms and those who support them seem to have put aside their differences and joined forces to stop fracking.

But who are the targets of the actual campaign?

The fracking companies, obviously, but as they aren't about to go out of business voluntarily, they aren't the strategic target. So who can stop them?

The Stock Market


People don't frack for the fun of it. This is about making money.

The thing to remember is these aren't big companies by the standards we're used to. They hope to get big, but they're not there yet. Centrica's £60 million deal with John Browne's Cuadrilla wouldn't have been enough to pay the board its bonus in his BP days.

They are hoping to make megabucks, but first they need other people's money.

Industry consultants KPMG, not usually friends of environmentalists, are sceptical. They talk about "tremendous reputational and regulatory hurdles",  "high costs", "financial risk", and "extended development periods". None of this sounds tempting to investors.

Governments, as we know to our cost, can be incredibly pig headed and can stick with bad decisions forever rather than appear weak. The City though can change its mind in an instant. It wasn't John Major's government that gave in over the Brent Spar - they were getting ready to send in the SBS - but Shell which threw in the towel.

Tory Backbenchers 


The risk management company Control Risks in its report takes, if anything, an even more pessimistic line. They note "activist groups are well-organised and actively network internationally" and a government which is "is cautious or divided in its approach towards unconventional gas development". Put together they worry
"Protest activity in the UK can be expected to persist as new sites are targeted for exploration, although the composition of issues and concerns will vary by locality. While these demonstrations may only be marginally successful at physically disrupting drilling – Cuadrilla was delayed by just a week at Balcombe – their real impact will be felt in the politics of shale. Tory backbenchers viewing fracking as an electoral liability is a greater success for the anti-fracking movement than blockading a project site."

So they see us pesky protesters as a big threat and the Countryside Alliance supporting Conservative MPs of the Stockbroker belt as the weakest link.

The Campaign


So here's the challenge for us. Taking a group of rowdy, lefty, anti-capitalist anarchists, design a campaign to appeal to both a shrewd stockbroker and a Tory backwoodsman.

Should be easy.

However, in case your stuck for ideas, Control Risks has some for us.
Direct action is intended to draw media attention to the anti-fracking movement, motivate the anti-fracking opposition, and physically disrupt operations. Project site blockades, in particular, have emerged as a favoured low-cost, high-impact tactic, especially in the UK.
So there you go.

Who's coming to Manchester?

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