A former scientific adviser to the government who helped to prepare a report in favour of fracking in Scotland has accused ministers of treating expert evidence with contempt. Professor Paul Younger accused the Scottish government of having “taken flight from reason” for imposing a moratorium on fracking for shale gas, driving away investment and jobs in the ailing energy sector. He warned that any scientist following “basic norms of professional integrity” would refuse to work with the SNP administration in future. He said that Scotland’s failure to embrace the technology was playing into the hands of the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, because western countries would be forced to rely on supplies of Russian natural gas. Several companies have expressed an interest in fracking for underground deposits of gas in central Scotland but have been held back because of a Scottish government moratorium.
Times 12th May 2016 read more »
The Greens have urged Nicola Sturgeon to stick to her guns on fracking after a former advisor accused her of taking “flight from reason”. Professor Paul Younger, who was appointed to a Scottish Government taskforce to examine unconventional oil and gas extraction, hit out at the SNP leader’s comments during the recent election campaign. Mr Younger said he was “flabbergasted” that all but one of Scotland’s major parties were “trashing” an industry that he said could re-employ North Sea workers in a safer environment.
Herald 12th May 2016 read more »
Letter Professor Andrew Watterson, Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group: PAUL Younger clearly feels passionately about fracking both as an engineer and a keen blunderbuss enthusiast obsessed with Valdimir Putin (“Fracking expert: Sturgeon playing into hands of Putin”, The Herald, May 11). He stresses the reliance on evidence-based research, although evidence-informed research may be the way to go when faced with significant data gaps and uncertainty. If BSE (mad cow disease) taught us nothing else, it is that we should be very cautious indeed about making absolute and categorical statements on safety when we may be ignorant of many important and often complex interacting factors. For some of us researching fracking, a very different analysis exists. It is patently obvious that globally and within the UK there is no consensus on many of the short, middle and long-term risks posed by fracking, be they to public health, community wellbeing, house p rices and local and national economies. Much research in these areas rather indicate real risks exist based on good evidence. There is, however, already a scientific consensus about the adverse effects of fossil fuel on global climate change with related cross-generational public health impacts. That in itself has persuaded some leading UK scientific researchers to oppose fracking. There is an old Greek saying that states if all you have is a hammer, then everything you see is a nail. This would appear to apply to several UK engineers. Understandably, engineers look for engineering solutions to fracking problems and some are certain they can all be solved. Yet engineers and geologists for example from Ivy League universities in the United States contest that view and oppose fracking accordingly.
Herald 12th May 2016 read more »