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My Fracking Round-Up (COP21 edition)

Wednesday 9th December, around 14 degrees outdoors. A clear morning, clouding over now. The big news in fracking UK is of course, that Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, will be, pursuant to a change in the rules quietly implemented, with special reference to shale gas, last September, "making the final decision" on Cuadrilla's plans to frack at Roseacre and Preston New Rd, near Blackpool in Lancashire. I put "making the final decision" in quotes there because if Clark doesn't intend to overturn the planning committee's ruling, I don't know what else could be going on. Why do they even bother to pretend, eh? I'll tell you why. Because to most of the population, what's seen to be done is what's done. That's why. So Greg Clark, out of the kindness of his heart is having to go out of his way to puzzle over the evidence and think of the right answer, just to satisfy everyone, see? For more fracking&related UK news, turn to Ruth Hayhurst at drill or drop . Also the news desk at Frack Off

New legislation allows fracking in National Parks. Our government calls this "making National Parks do more, and do it better" I kid you not, that's what they're saying.

A first taste of the real extent of the damage to come, when those National Parks are doing their job so much better: evidence that Third Energy is planning (for starters)at least 10 horizontal boreholes from its first well pad in Kirby Misperton, North Yorks.

Find out more; prepare to take action:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/fracking/11699561/Fracking-will-get-go-ahead-even-if-Lancashire-refuses-legal-advice-suggests.html

http://frackfreelancashire.org.uk/cms/

But the real story this week, of course, is Paris! COP21. It started off so well, as 350.org reports, with "many world governments aligned around a very ambitious target of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, thanks to the bold demands of leaders on the front lines of the crisis."

But then, alas, inevitably things start to go downhill . . .

"now that optimism is starting to fade, as ministers back off from making the hard committments that would get us there." (350.org)

Ah, well.

I haven't been following the show, I'm afraid. I'm sure it's very exciting to be there, but tell the truth, about 30 seconds of Dave Cameron's three minutes of fame turned my stomach so badly, I've had to refrain to protect my health. Did I hear him claim excitedly "Climate change is doable!" I think I did.

Yes indeedy, Dave. Very doable. And you, we know, are eager and determined to do your bit.

I saw the unfortunate Rory Stewart on C4 News last night (what an odd turn his career has taken!) dripping in Cumbria. Newperson Jon Snow asked him mildy was climage change implicated? With a look of sheer despair, like a damned soul writhing on the coals. Stewart answered obliquely, this is utterly unprecedented. We're going to need much, much higher flood defences. On the coast of Lincolnshire, on the Fylde coast . . . To protect the fracking wells, indeed they will. Poor man.

Keeping the fossil fuels in the ground is no longer just the big Green idea, by the way. Nor is fracking for shale gas the movie star it used to be. We have coal gasification now. There are staggeringly huge deposits of coal, the world over, to deep to be mined, but not too deep to be burned: talk about having your cake and eating it. And nobody can see the emissions, no need to take them into account. Until the whole thing goes a bit pearshaped, which sometimes it does . . .

I bet Paris, unlike Copenhagen, is somehow going to come up smelling of roses (I think that's the top priority), all inspiring and happy: further bets are off. For one thing, a world conference expects a world solution, one size fits all, and that's no good. Over in India, the immediate need is to quench the cooking fires, whose thick yellow smog cloud sits over the Subcontinent like that Garbage Blob in the Pacific;coal-fired electricity probably still needs to be part of their mix. Here in the UK we're past that. We need to go all out for wind and wave and solar, and we need to go all out for energy efficiency. It's not rocket science it would work, and we should just get going.

Protest, okay, but it starts with people, individual people: not flying, turning down the heating, recycling, all that boring stuff. Me, I'm trying, failing; trying to change my lifestyle. Are you?

Beyond Paris . . .

Watching

A London Spy

Piffle, utter histrionic piffle from start to finish, featuring Ben Wishaw as a bruised, courageous little flower, Jim Broadbent as a bruised, courageous favourite uncle, and Charlotte Rampling reprising her "abject, whip me harder, snotty toff-lady" act; same as she has been doing since the Sixties. Interesting drag act in the drinking club they all frequent. The reveal was idiotic, none of it made much sense. But we watched.

Carol

Lovely to look at, sumptuous ultra-feminine Fifties fashions (esp Carol's cut to the bone ensembles, which I bet even Cate Blanchett didn't try gracing without a corset); a bit underwhelming emotionally. It bothered me that rich suburban lady Carol, the mother already threatened with the loss of her child, and doe-eyed poor girl Therese, the talented young woman on the brink of life, don't talk to each other about what they are getting into, circa 1950! I haven't read the book, which sounds a lot more interesting. I intend to seek it out.

Reading

A River Runs Again, Meera Subramanian

Mixed race US/Asian Indian Meera Subramanian explores the global near future (ie, present day India). Crowded, hot, subject to violent swings in climate, with a government unable or unwilling to face the most vital challenges, the rich and poor living in worlds apart . . . Is there any hope? Well, yes there is.

Absorbing, lyrical, down to earth and visionary. This is an beautiful and important book. You should read it.

Online

Right now at Sffworld.com with Jim Doty, Stephen Palmer, Chris Reher and the boss Dag Rambaut, discussing standalones, series, working habits and other writerly matters.

There were other things I wanted to say, but this is too long already. Maybe I'll post again to say happy Christmas.

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