Wednesday, 25 October 2017

We should pass a law to prevent fracking in Wales

Speech in National Assembly on 25th October 2017

For me this isn’t an issue about fire coming out of my taps or earthquakes

These are clearly issues that would need to be sorted out before fracking could be permitted. But I want to make the broader point on what this debate is about

Our whole way of life, since the second industrial revolution has been built upon access to energy derived from fossil fuels. We have built a materially-prosperous society on that

However, as a matter of logic, if it is based on a finite natural resource, there is surely going to come a time when that reaches it limit.

I’m not anti technology, far from it, I’m very open to the idea that through innovation we can find ways of improving our life that is consistent with respecting the planet's boundaries.

However, I do worry that most of us are in denial about the impact that human behaviour has had on the environment and impacted its ability to sustain us in the way of life we have come to assume is our right.

My problem with fracking is that instead of taking the hint that we’re reaching the limits of our reliance on fossil fuels, we’re trying to blast the last bit of gas out of the earth to sustain an industrial lifestyle - instead of confronting the fact that we need to find a new way of doing things.

The gas produced through fracking may emit only half as much carbon dioxide as coal, but this doesn’t take into account the leakage of methane and other greenhouse gases during the process. When these are added in, studies show, shale gas can create even more pollution than coal.

I do not see how releasing highly damaging gases into the air, which contribute significantly to greenhouse gases and rising temperatures is consistent with our stated policy of cutting emissions year on year.

Given that, I don’t see how we can countenance sanctioning fracking in Wales. And for that reason, I support this Bill.

Let’s stop trying to find a way round this to please corporate interests and let’s focus on developing our economy in a way which respects the needs and wellbeing of future generations.

Our focus should be on reducing the amount of energy we need through innovation, and building up our renewables capacity so that it not only meets all our energy needs but can provide us with our green energy that we can sell and export.

Let's end Wales’ association with dirty energy and make us leaders in clean energy.

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