Tag Archives: Fracking

Fortune cookie?

And the woman looked at me and said: “There are two kind of unemployed people, those who cannot deal with the situation and those who are unwilling to consider alternatives”, I have no idea who she was and she basically threw the ‘accusation’ in my direction. Yet it is not a truth, it is what some call ‘the fortune cookie truth’, it is almost like reading a horoscope, you want it to be true, and you will read it accordingly with a weighted view on what you read. Yet that is not the only time you read it this way. The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/may/28/how-the-free-press-worldwide-is-under-threat) gives us ‘How the free press worldwide is under threat’, well it is debatable whether it is, and to some extent you did this to yourself. So when I read “In recent years, another way of silencing journalists has proliferated: the use of what are known as strategic lawsuits against public participation, or Slapps, where defamation or criminal lawsuits are brought with the intention of shutting down forms of expression such as peaceful protest or writing blogs”, I wonder where this is going, you see we are given all kinds of examples, and the loud Mexican example is pushing the matter, but when we see “In France, media organisations and NGOs have been hit with what they view as Slapp suits for publishing accusations of land-grabbing from villagers and farmers in Cameroon by companies associated with the Bolloré Group. In the UK, fracking companies including Ineos, UK Oil & Gas, Cuadrilla, IGas and Angus Energy have since 2017 sought and been granted wide-ranging court injunctions, often directed against persons unknown, to prevent protests and campaigning activities at drilling sites we do see something that should not get ignored, yet the setting is actually larger than that. All kinds of publications have pushed this and the demand for proper policing has not ben met seriously. So as we are given “a framework for co-operation between UN bodies, national authorities, media actors and NGOs. Spearheaded through Unesco, the plan was incorporated into the Declaration of the Council of Europe in April 2014, and in guidelines published by the EU soon after. In April 2016, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a recommendation on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors” we are given the first part, not the journalist, but the phrase media actors, they are part of the problem and as the media refuses to acknowledge the stage, they themselves are endangering the journalists. And it took a while, but they come out with the old and misrepresented cow, we get “Other infamous cases of state-sponsored crimes against journalists include the brutal murder, on 2 October 2018, of Saudi dissident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The CIA have concluded that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered the journalist’s assassination. On 19 July 2019, the office of the UNHCR released a report describing Khashoggi’s death as “premeditated extra judicial execution”.” Let’s not forget that this is the same CIA that gave us the presence of WMD’s in Iraq, so where were they? The emotional ‘brutal murder’ is given, absent of actual and factual evidence and this is where we see that the journalists became the media actors. The people can no longer tell the difference, a journalist gives us the FACTS, a media actor does not, mostly they rely on emotional storytelling to flame events, a ‘Whornalist’ if you wish, and the matter is getting worse, the people are rejecting journalist sources, complicating matter further. It is becoming a setting where the ‘fortune cookie telling’ is regarded to a much larger extent as some unwritten truth and the media pushed for this, emotional people will click sooner, will click more often and every click matters in the digital world. It also enables corporations and players to use Slapps to a much larger degree. So these ‘Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation’ are now proving to be a much larger weapon of choice by too many players and the media seemingly and speculatively allows for them according to the needs of shareholders and stake holders. And as I personally see it, UN Essay writers are making things less and less palatable, not because of what they claim, but they are using more and more dodgy settings to create an air of ‘humane lawgiving’ a statement that is it own antonym a it is not humane and in no way is it lawgiving, and speculatively speaking it might not be lawful either. 

So as the article ends with “Today, citizens are on lockdown, eager for news like never before. And more than ever, the news must be fact-checked, verified. Because disinformation spreads as fast as the virus itself, and journalists are on the frontline in the fight against the distortion of truth. More than ever we need facts. Facts to avoid spreading fear, fake news and panic. More than ever we need a free press” they need to realise and accept that as long as journalism dos not take a hard look at itself and distances itself from media actors, their plight will merely become harder, people can no longer see the difference, and the options they had from day one, the fact that a journalist has (or should have) a degree in journalism, as such the articles they write can be made to look significantly different from opinion makers and non-journalistic flamers, they are all set to the same category (read: garbage). 

Entertainment stations,  claiming to give us the News, all whilst that news is tainted and filtered to keep out what we should know, but someone insisted that it is not worth knowing, it does not matter whether the decision maker is aiming for Digital currency, a stake holder, a share holder or someone else, the news is filtered and therefor might not be news anymore, merely filtered information and there are examples going all the way back to 2012, optionally a larger time before that. The people can no longer tell the difference, what was hard about that? As such the given part “when powerful political and business actors can attack journalists with impunity” is merely half a truth as I personally see it. They are part of the shareholders and take holders that limit the view of the people through media actors and that part is the unwritten part that has gone way out of control. That needs to be addressed before you claim that you want a free press, you merely boxed yourself in and you are in denial, merely coining the idea that the quarters you are in now are a bit cramped, which implies that you merely had to stop them from becoming cubicle neighbours in that building you call journalism.

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What the Frack?

I have stated in several occasions that I am at heart a Conservative, I believe in the conservative plan and for the most, the damage Labour has achieved, on a near global base gives me the certainty that I will nearly never see eye to eye with labour. Yet, it is that nearly part that is today the issue. You see, the one part I do agree with is their opposition to Fracking.

I myself grew up in the Netherlands. My grandfather is British and served in WWI , my mother was British, so I am unofficial (for now) British too. I have seen the damage that Fracking has done in the Netherlands. The historic buildings that are now damaged, some beyond repair is just unacceptable. The North of the Netherlands (Groningen) has a unique historical architecture, which is now partially diminished and that is not a good thing. Consider the people who are losing their houses so that a little more gas can be obtained, and the expense that it had to go through to get it. In addition, the Dutch gas company NAM that was the instigator of this approach lost its case last year, which had as a consequence that loss of property value has to be repaired, with over 2000 claims in 2012 alone, the NAM is currently looking at claims totalling into the billions of Euro’s. The good part in this for British Barry Gardiner is that Common Law torts is actually stronger in protecting the home owners’ rights than Dutch law was, so the moment anything goes wrong (it will), the parties that will start fracking will end up paying a lot, possible even a lot more than the value of the gas obtained, so that story could go south fast and a lot faster than any administration would like it to be.

In addition, the UK has one additional issue the Dutch do not have. Fracking in the UK, because of the rocky foundation requires a higher pressure than the Dutch required, giving the UK a slightly larger issue with earthquakes and in addition to that, if the chemicals enter the groundwater in any way (a very likely issue), the damage to people’s health because of water pollution could have the realistic danger to hit water sources that people and farms rely on (being an island surrounded by salt water adds to that danger). That last is not a given, but if it happens, the UK would be in a perilous situation. You see, the Dutch have a collection of waterways and water sources that outdo the UK by a lot, considering they have larger (drink) water provision, with the Dutch at 17% of the size and only 25% of the population, if anything had gone seriously wrong (water wise), the Dutch have alternatives, the same is not clear and should be considered as doubtful for the UK.

In the Netherlands there is an issue, however, we need to clearly look at both sides. The anti-Fracking sites are giving the readers the ‘burning water‘ example, whilst the pro fracking people claimed that this was swamp gas that had found its way into the ground waters. There are issues here, but it was not a given that fracking caused this instance. Still, the county of Groningen has access to 45 billion litres of water, and that is one of the least populated areas of the Netherlands. The Technical University of Delft had this paper that was done for the Drinkwater cooperation in the Netherlands (at http://www.vewin.nl/SiteCollectionDocuments/Dossier_schaliegas/Schaliegas_gevolgen_voor_ons_grondwater.pdf), their site vewin.nl has an English version of the site.

An important conclusion is: “De overkoepelende conclusie van voorliggend rapport is, dat schaliegaswinning in principe veilig zal zijn voor het drinkwater, onder de voorwaarde dat maatregelen worden genomen die de zorgpunten van de sector adequaat wegnemen. Dat vergt in elk geval openheid over de gebruikte chemicaliën en monitoring die start voorafgaand aan het boren en wordt voortgezet tot en met de nazorgperiode (30 jaar na het voorgoed sluiten de putten)“.

The paraphrased translation “The conclusion of this report is that Fracking is in principle not hazardous for drinking water, with the clear condition that safeguards are set in place, with openness of disclosure of all chemicals used and monitoring starting before fracking commences with continued measuring of the chemicals for a period of 30 years after fracking stops“. There is a little paraphrasing here. Yet the foundation that monitoring for 30+ years will have a massive impact on the profitability, with the added situation that the Dutch, due to the soil, required an expected lower pressure. Also, the risk was still there, yet lower due to what I regard of vast water supplies. Elements the UK does not have to the extent the Dutch have, meaning that the risk here will be higher. This is one of the principle reasons I am on the side of Barry Gardiner. The interesting thing is that he is a lot more fearful than the Scottish are, which is also weird because should any water get a case of fracking chemical pollution, one of the main ingredients for making whiskey is gone, ending that market for a very long time. So, buying a 100 cases of Scotch, the day fracking is approved in Scotland, might be a very worthwhile investment indeed.

You see, my aversion to all this is that it requires openly revealing all chemicals used and monitoring. I have never ever seen any profit driven company adhere to these terms. Like the Dutch report shows the Halliburton side of it all and how spiffy their technology is. It is in the end an academic presentation to a set of requirements most large companies will ‘accidently’ ignore and when it goes to court a ‘fine’ will be advocated for that allows them still a degree of profits, whilst the elements in nearly all reports require a level of responsibility and adherence to issues that make profit a near non-issue as there will be no profit. This beckons me to think why any consideration to allow fracking is even considered to begin with. By the way, should any drilling organisation decide to go bankrupt, the aftercare of 30 years would not be possible, meaning that suddenly the government would be required to monitor all this, an expense no one is waiting for.

For the most, there are issues that cannot be guaranteed how deep it will impact the UK, yet the dangers, the risks and the long term consequences, whilst the profit is not even close to a guarantee makes me wonder why the UK Government on both sides of the isle have abstained to unite in banning Fracking on the grounds of risks and uncontrollable costs after the fact. That alone, whilst a trillion in debt should be enough to keep people away from Fracking. Only today, the Dutch NOS now reports that the Dutch NAM is going to appeal last year’s decision regarding the loss of value of houses. A Statement of Appeal, in Dutch named ‘memorie van grieven‘ has been submitted, at 16.5 Kilograms, or in a slightly more metrical definition: 3400 pages. The quote “The Company calls the verdict outdated and vague, saying it creates a huge administrative burden for the NAM“, which I find hilarious. There has been too much damage and clearly proven damage because of fracking, now that the NAM is finding the loss of profit too large, it drowns the court with a document that will take months to read. So as this case will now see another legal iteration that will not start until 2017, the people at NAM will get out fast with as much cash as possible and leave others to clean up the mess (speculation on my side). This is in my view another reason to support the view Barry Gardiner has. If not for the mere logic, then for the common legal sense that any mishap will bring with it.

The last side is the US, when we look at sourcewatch.org, we see the claim that go a lot further. There have been cases where the monitoring labs falsified data and ended up paying $150K fine with 5 years of probation, which was in East Syracuse New York. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has shown and found water safety issues with residential drinking water wells in Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming. Cases of elevated levels of Arsenic and Selenium (not the healthiest in even minute traces), places where there were elevated amounts of Ammonium and Iodide, which would be devastating to environment and wildlife and in Wyoming they found Benzene at 50 times higher than safe levels advice. What was even more upsetting is that a June 2015 report (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-04/u-s-epa-study-finds-only-limited-water-pollution-from-fracking) is reported by the news as ‘EPA Study of Fracking Finds ‘No Widespread, Systemic’ Pollution‘, there is no way to tell who to believe, but the reports stated in the past as well as some of the actions give way to the notion that big business has a hold over the EPA, not the other way around. What is also interesting in the Bloomberg article is ““Now the Obama administration, Congress, and state governments must act on that information to protect our drinking water, and stop perpetuating the oil and gas industry’s myth that fracking is safe,” said Lauren Pagel, Earthwork’s policy director, in an e-mail“, I myself would have gone a step further and make the children of the people behind the EPA report drink the water from these wells and watch how scared those parents would suddenly become. I wonder if we see any proclamations that their children are allergic to water. The crisis in Flint Michigan is another piece of evidence. Important that this is NOT about fracking, but about the mishandling of evidence regarding the quality of water. Water with heavy metals (lead) tends to be really unhealthy and the fact that one member of the EPA was involved only shows that big business finds a way to take the lead, or is that lead to profit.

As I personally see it. Fracking is nothing more than fake money. Some call it printing your own cash, which is one side, but consider that you are printing £100 that note would cost you £30 in paper and £85 in ink? How profitable is printing money then? Especially as the increased price of ink is one that both government ignore and corporations forget to mention. And the image of Balmoral Castle? Well, to cover the losses, that ‘piece de resistance’ could actually got on the market to cover the losses and that is not too far-fetched I reckon. So far there is not one place that can clearly show the benefit without the out of control risks, making this solution a non-option before it even starts.

Fracking? Get the Frack out of here!

 

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Get the Frack out of here!

For the UK it is a small place, it can be found to the right of the North Sea and it is called the Netherlands. Today, a judge has decided that the Dutch Gas Corporation (NAM) has been found responsible for the massive damage houses in the state of Groningen had been subject to. The initial 900 claimants can rejoice to a chunk of 5 billion Euro. This is only the beginning for the NAM as the judge also decided that all houses within the earthquake region will have the right to file a claim against the NAM.

You might state that this is not such an issue, but is that the case?

On the 19th of July 2013, in the article ‘The Setting of strategies‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/07/19/the-setting-of-strategies/), I wrote: “we should not forget the issues that the Dutch county ‘Groningen’ is going through as it has seen a rise in small earthquakes giving home owners massive costs to repair and additional losses in house values. These issues are to some extent denied/ignored as the investigation is going on, yet the damages that the people see in the news on a regular bases tells another story. At present corporations are now claiming for millions in damages from both the Dutch gas company (NAM) and the government“, now the invoice is due, which gives view that fracking has been an experiment that came at a massive cost, costings that are ignored by those who ignore bad news. I ended the article with “We, the Commonwealth nations must stick together to stay afloat and survive, fight together to become the nations of true prosperity again. None of these strategies are ready for that essential need!“, as I see it, I have been proven right.

On the 27th of November (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/11/27/two-deadly-sins/), in the article ‘Two deadly sins‘ I wrote “The question becomes whether George Osborne has been properly instructed involving the risks he would place Wales in? If he is briefed by stockholders, the UK should take another look at these proceedings. I understand that heating is hard and very expensive, but can people continue when they are faced with long term, perhaps even unrepairable damage to England itself? Can that be acceptable? I am not a geologist, so there are elements I have no knowledge of, yet it might be realistic that many Walesians did not sign up for Shale Gas experiments when it could cost them both Cardiff and Swansea, both containing the largest population in Wales. Is Britain ready to pay for 350,000 damaged homes?

Now with the NAM losing their case, these issues are now adamant for the UK too. Did Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Andrea Leadsom consider these dangers when she made her speech yesterday? The Lancashire Evening Post (at http://www.lep.co.uk/news/community/fracking-is-great-opportunity-1-7438282) states: “Shale gas is a fantastic opportunity for the UK. The industry could be worth billions of pounds to our economy, provide more than 60,000 jobs, creating financial security for more hard-working people and their families while also increasing our energy security“, with the NAM now losing billions, how secure is that future? More important, apart from the earthquakes the Netherlands had, how secure are the catchments of the toxic chemicals that are used in the fracking process?

There is a bigger issue too. I agree with her statement “There is no question that the UK needs natural gas. It meets a third of our energy demand, and we will need it for many years to come. If we carry on the way we are, we’ll be importing 75 per cent of the gas we need by 2030“. The UK should not be dependent on all this, in all this a solution must be found and as it stands, fracking is not the solution, it never ever was. For all this we need to take a look at the article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-20595228) called ‘Fracking: Untangling fact from fiction‘, an excellent BBC article that does state “Their report indicated that future earthquakes as a result of fracking could not be ruled out – but the risk from these tremors was low and structural damage extremely unlikely“, which amounts to the information the NAM gave in first instance, now a massive multi-billion euro bill is due, which begs the question: “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” I cannot state this for certain, but there are question, even as we see the statement “the UK has more than 50 years of drilling experience and we have the best record in the world for economic development while protecting our environment and people“, the answer the BBC published puts all this on loose screws, it makes for a debate on the amount of danger houses and drinking water is handed as fracking is still the operational solution that remains the number one consideration. My worry is the quote “Operators will pay communities £100,000 for each exploration well site plus 1 per cent of production revenue, worth £5m-£10m, to be used as the community sees fit“. If that comes with a blanket non-liability clause than the NAM issue shows the dangers of considering all this. When the government shells out millions and gets a billion pound claim in return, we should consider the longer term effects that shale gas has.

In the end fracking was never the money making swine the Dutch hoped it would be, in addition, the case as it was lost by the NAM (on all counts no less) shows that the long term consequences are also a partial unknown. The NAM will get additional bills in losses and damages, whilst the revenue now falls away and most of that will fall towards the person with the damaged home. The coffers (those that George Osborne controls) gives additional worries when the invoices do come in. it would make the faintest of notion that a few coins were to be made falls away towards the deadliest of costs, namely that of a claimant holding the government responsible for the loss of value on their house. Groningen in the Netherlands is the least populated area of the Netherlands and the damage there is expected to be soon in excess of 5 billion Euro. The conservative party cannot afford damages to that extent, fracking is just too risky an endeavour!

 

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How much for just the planet?

This is at the core of what is currently wrong. It is however a serious view that we all must face and we have to face it sooner rather than later. This train of thought started a while ago. I initially saw it on TV, the ‘movie’ was called ‘AFTERMATH, Population Zero‘.

It was a fascinating view to behold. The story is purely fictive; it was all based on the premise that from one moment to the other the global population would suddenly vanish. What would be the consequence? (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUqHECc5rPo&index=28&list=WL)

It is well worth watching it. So if you have seen the movie the next part will make a little more sense. You see, it is all linked to a few items that have been all over social media and the internet in general since late 2009. It was raised again in February 2013 with the story ‘Nestlé’s Peter Brabeck: our attitude towards water needs to change‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/nestle-peter-brabeck-attitude-water-change-stewardship). I once made a prediction that we have 8 generations left, a concept that was not even conceivable when I was in primary school. Yet, now it is a reality that the older generation no longer needs to worry about, but our children will feel the brunt of that idea and it will become a reality for our grandchildren. The article gives us the following: “We’re talking about running out of oil; well it happens that we have 120 years of proven oil reserves“. That could be the case, I made a simple calculation half a decade ago, the calculation gave me the approximation that the amount of crude oil used could fill a cube of 15 by 15 by 15 miles, well over 75% had been used in the last two decades. So, yes, it is extremely likely that we have 120 years of oil left, but the ‘proven’ part is not a guarantee, the growth of oil needed, especially if the price keeps on going down, as fuel becomes cheaper, more people will be willing to drive longer to get a decent job, making the population at large a lot more mobile than ever before. Also, as oil becomes cheaper and cheaper, some will stop delivering and wait for better times. That is not a given reality, but it is a possible one. Yet, the idea that oil will run out in no more than 100 years is not too far-fetched either. The second part is an issue for me “we have 240 years of proven gas reserves” If that was so, than the rush for ‘shale gas’ would not have been so strong. The rush for fracking is not a view that comes from a 240 year reserve; it comes (as I see it) from a proven reserve that is a lot less than 240 years. Then there is coal. Yes, there might be a longer reserve in stock, but with coal comes pollution and lots of it.

It is the last part that gives the most fear “we have thousands of years of proven Uranium reserves and we are running out of water today“. It is all about the water. When we look at water, we see that the planet is 70% water, yet only 2% of that amount is good for consumption. Water is running low, there is no denying that, the issue linked here it that the planet has 7.2 billion people this implies that no less than 12 billion litres of water will be needed EVERY DAY to sustain a population. Several sources give the following: “At the moment, around 1% of the world’s population are dependent on desalinated water to meet their daily needs, but by 2025, the UN expects 14% of the world’s population to be encountering water scarcity” (at http://www.globalwaterintel.com/desalination-industry-enjoys-growth-spurt-scarcity-starts-bite/), so as we see the cost of drinking water to go through the roof within the next decade, the approach of Nestle makes perfect sense, although the implication is not a humane one. All these events give now more and more way to the story Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison, a story written in 1966, it would propel Charlton Heston even further as the story became the foundation for Soylent Green as detective Frank Thorn. The movie is nothing like the story, which was about overpopulation, however Harry Harrison, passed away on August 15th, 2012. As I see it, he likely passed away with the knowledge that both his story and the movie based upon it could become a reality. The story ends with “The story concludes with the Times Square screen announcing that “Census says United States had biggest year ever, end-of-the-century, 344 million citizens”“, consider that the current US population is almost 319 million, that is not so far from the expected number in the book (which was set in 1999), Harry Harrison seems to be off by only 2 decades. The movie gives us another need. The movie is about the unaffordability of food and water, the movie is set in 2022, now we have a ball game. Now we get close to what reality is showing. If water is set to become a product for those who can afford it, then water becomes a luxury, no longer a basic right. This is at the foundation of what Nestle is trying to achieve. As politicians are hiding behind the ‘security’ of desalinisation, we must admit that this will shift the timeline, but the massive need for water to be produced will bring with it an increasing need for a fuel source. Which one? Oil? Coal? Consider that over the next decade the need of growth of desalinisation also implies a growing need for power. The power needed to fuel the need of that what was once regarded as a basic right and plentiful available, an implied growth of 1400% over a decade. Suddenly that 120 year oil reserve does not look that clearly set, does it?

This shows my earlier statement, your children will see the shift (a decade from now), your grandchildren will see the need and the pressure on the cost of living. To survive they will need an income for rent, water and fuel as a major expense of their income. A reality we luckily might not face and over all this we see not Nestle, but we see Financial Institutions as the anchor killing us. That part is seen in the article ‘PwC chief misled us over Luxembourg tax avoidance schemes, claim MPs‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/06/pricewaterhousecoopers-boss-kevin-nicholson-misled-mps). How did I get to that part?

Consider the following three quotes “The Guardian’s investigation into PwC’s activities in Luxembourg was made possible by the leak of thousands of pages of confidential tax rulings secured by the accountancy firm, which found their way to the ICIJ“, and then there is “But PwC Luxembourg remains furious at what it calls the “theft” of its documents. Criminal charges have been brought against two former PwC staff members after it complained to prosecutors” and last there is ““Shire has arranged its affairs so that interest payments on intra-company loans reduce significantly its overall tax liabilities … The ‘substance’ of Shire’s business in Luxembourg, used to justify these arrangements, consists of two people … One of Shire’s Luxembourg based staff holds 41 directorships of other companies”“. So, the link here is sizeable reduced taxability. So as these taxations are not achieved, how will desalinisation plants be built? On another credit card? Who pays for that bill and how will that affect the price of water and the subsequent additional taxation?

The final view is given from a Canadian site called Global Research. the quote is “His statements are important to review as we continue to see the world around us become reshaped into a more mechanized environment in order to stave off that pitiless Nature to which he refers” (at http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-privatisation-of-water-nestle-denies-that-water-is-a-fundamental-human-right/5332238). The fact that we let our lives be ruled by politicians who seem to put their own needs first is a massive blow to our chance to survive in an age of humanity. That part is seen as the bulk of nations cannot keep a budget and the overwhelming need that is greed based. So as nations have even less tax revenue, more costs and a slowly but surely growing number of unaffordable needs, we see an escalation into chaos and extremism.

The way we live allows for the approach of Nestle which turns a bad James Bond premise into a reality. The political approach of ‘shove it forward’ will be cast upon our grandchildren, turning their lives into one of working, so that they have a possibility of life. Until we change many ways of our lives and until we change the acts that we consider to be acceptable, we will only end up getting by with less, whilst food, drinks and luxury is left to less than 5% of the population. As time goes buy (pun intended), we see a change of interpretation, we will see politicians to be extensions for whatever, proclaiming on what is ‘actual’ a right and what is not.

So how does the title ‘How much for just the planet?’ and the movie ‘AFTERMATH, Population Zero’ make sense? Consider what is made extinct on a weekly basis for well over a decade? The movie shows that the planet will repair itself over a millennium, so how will the path of our world change if we are willing to get rid of 92% of our global population and impose a stringent rule of population control through birth control? An idea launched in 1966, whilst also demanding existence through sustainable energy. For now, everyone will shoot, scream and give all kinds of emotional response how such inhumanity should not be allowed, which is fair enough, but as Nestle gets a grip on what we regarded as a basic right. So, the emotion of a population will push it forward and will force our grandchildren to make a ruling on getting rid of 95% of the population, very political and what seems to be humanely decent, is in actuality one of the most inhumane acts ever, because this is all for the most due to a cowardly, non-acting generation that started with our fathers, ourselves and our children. A reality ignored within 3 generations, fuelled by greed of big-business and by the acts of all others by playing possum or burying their heads in the sand. Consider that the US consumes 50 billion eggs and 8 billion of chickens each year. They only represent 5% of the global population and this is not including the need for Fish, Meat and vegetables. So how much food is needed and how soon will it run out, because the one part everyone ignores is that meat products are created using water and food.

So, are these thoughts so far reached? Perhaps the next invention is only a year away, an invention that will change everything. This is the hope too many have whilst our lives are no longer driven by innovation, but through iteration for the need of maximising profits. That approach is nice for a boardroom and their needs, but it does not drive forward true technological advancement, that part will slow down more and more. No matter how much we want some cheap and easy solution that does not offend anyone, the chance of finding it becomes less and less likely. Bad News management from governments and big-business alike as well as derived profit through non-taxability from Big-Business, whilst governments are vying for their manufacturing plants and offering too many subsidies offsetting the cost of a labour force. In this environment these governments need to unsuccessfully balance a budget and soon, if the numbers hold true, find ways to produce the one element most never had to produce before, a basic substance always available. I let you work out the math, feel free to be slightly less happy after reading this, but also remember it only takes one mind to come up with that golden idea that will sustain a nation. This has been proven in several cases, for the Dutch Gerard Philips and Frederik Philips stand out, in Sweden there was Lars Magnus Ericsson, Henry Ford in the US and the list goes on a little longer, they shaped industries that would span generations. I have no idea who will be the next name that changes the way we think and live, but as we see the facts, that person better come sooner rather than later.

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Frack off?

Fracking, it has been a large issue in the Netherlands, now it is starting to get grounds on several levels in the UK. Some of the shown issues can be found at http://news.sky.com/story/1194087/fracking-cameron-offers-councils-drill-money. The first paragraph gives us two of several issues connected to this, as is stated “David Cameron has announced £1.7m for councils which agree to drill for shale gas sparking angry protests from campaigners who say it amounts to little more than bribery.

The issue is whether the environmental issues are dealt with. The incentive is a powerful one, and the complication is that this is now business against the future, not the consequences set against the present.

Why am I stating this?

One part of that evidence is coming from the Netherlands. The NOS stated “De gaswinning in Groningen leidde dit jaar tot een recordaantal aardbevingen.Gemiddeld twee keer per week: in totaal 127 keer. ” [Translated: the gathering of shale gas through fracking has led to a record amount of earthquakes. At present they are hit with two earthquakes a week, a total of 127 quakes]. The fracking as it is happening under direction of the Dutch NAM is having serious consequences. The quakes have been as high as a 3.7 on the Richter scale. The political field is still all open on finding some way to make this all continue in the Netherlands, which amounts to a strong devaluation of a unique architectural form in the Netherlands. In addition, on November 1st 2013 the following was also quoted by the NOS. “de Nederlandse aardoliemaatschappij NAM zo’n 900 miljoen euro voor compensatie moeten uittrekken.” [Translated: the NAM would have to pay 900 million euro in compensations, dealing with these damages].

[Addition] One reader had issues with the translation as mentioned earlier. In the literal sense, the commenter was correct, yet the information the commenter had not been aware of was (at http://www.nam.nl/nl/technology-and-innovation/optimization-natural-gas/fracking.html). There is however another issue I add to this (25th January 2014). The quoteDe techniek wordt al sinds de jaren ’50 regelmatig en succesvol toegepast in Nederland.” [Translated: The technique has been used regularly and succesfully since the 50’s.] The latter part is important for two reasons. First is that fracking had been used a lot longer and in addition, when I grew up there were no earthquakes in the Netherlands (at least none that I was aware of). So what other factors are part of the escalations in the Netherlands? Just more drilling?

Has David Cameron (and his advisers) taken these costs into account? Let’s not forget that Groningen is one of the lesser populated counties in the Netherlands. We are talking about a county with just over 510,000 people, compared to the national population of almost 17 million. Consider these numbers when fracking will commence all over Britain, especially in the southern parts the UK.

Now, the UK does not have the soft ground that is found in the Netherlands, yet the dangers will not be any less. When we look at the quote that Sky News gave us in the earlier mentioned article “The Government estimates the industry could attract £3.7bn a year in investment and support 74,000 jobs.” ‘Could’ is not a given, neither is the damage that the Netherlands are currently facing. I do however wonder about the short sighted look on 3.7 billion, when the UK is dealing with a 1 trillion debt. Now, as I mention this, you will think that this is all a good thing to have something that lowers the total debt and I would agree. However, consider the next quote, also from Sky News “A Local Government Association spokesman said: ‘Given the significant tax breaks being proposed to drive forward the development of shale gas and the impact drilling will have on local communities, these areas should not be short-changed by fracking schemes.’

So, these companies get even more tax breaks? Remember the old days? A company was visionary and had a good idea. There was no tax break and the tax paying people did not have to pay for their short-sightedness, once it reared its ugly head. Now, the topic of ‘tax break’ seems to be the introduction to any investment conversation. It is better than gambling as it is legally permitted. If it goes wrong they have no worry as no taxes are due, if they win they avoid massive taxation, a slightly rigged game, so to speak.

There are additional issues. Some of the environmentalists talk about the contamination of ground water as well as depletion of fresh water. It is hard to comment on those two claims as I am no expert on it. In one part, groundwater contamination could be avoided if it is properly investigated, yet the 1.7 million pound handout as mentioned in the very beginning could be cause to less vigorous investigation. If so, when the cost of living goes up for those drinking bottled water from 70 pence to lets say 125 pence per 1,5 liter, the issue will then become a colossal one, at which time it will be too late to do anything about it.

In the end, we must acknowledge that these risks have not been proven and as such the calamities the Netherlands are currently facing in Groningen should be investigated in regards to the risks that could exist for the UK. The latest statement by David Cameron “David Cameron said the Government was ‘going all out for shale’” does not qualify as evidence in either direction, but the economic state as it is faced by both Cameron and Osborne implies that they do not seem to be moving in a cautious direction.

The next quote to look at is “Mr Cameron’s announcement comes as the French energy giant Total has announced it will invest millions with a 40% interest in two shale gas exploration licences in the UK.” It is interesting how much France would like to get into this field in the UK, yet they suspended three gas exploration permits in France (exploration is just looking, not active drilling on a production level). There is something to be said for the expression not soiling one’s own bed. Other reports states that fracking would be at the centre of all kinds of water pollution issues. I reckon that being on an island, hazarding once water supply is just not advisable.

If we look at the BBC news (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25705550) we see the final quote. “Councils that back fracking will get to keep more money in tax revenue“. Sky News mentioned the same thing, yet when we look at the tax breaks offered and the possible damages that someone has to pay for, in the end, how much of all that diminished cash will end up in the coffers of the British Empire?

There are loads of considerations and I have strong feelings that only the spread sheet boys have looked at this picture. I wonder how much positivity remains once the fixers, engineers and water boys have taken a deep look at the consequences of this entire endeavour.

Fracking is bad and sees to have dangerous very long term consequences. There is no doubt that there are a few places in the UK where this could be done without harmful consequence. Yet, the French view (pre French super debt date) has been cautious as they have a lot to lose. That cautious approach should have been taken for the Netherlands and the UK should follow along that same path. The realist in me also knows that under these heavy economic pressured the environment will most likely lose, it remains doubtful whether the population will ever get to see a clear and complete picture in regards to the cost of doing business in this regard and fracking could become the most expensive form of business we ever knew.

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