- Fracking worsens Climate Change: ‘Fracking’ is the extraction of natural gas (or oil) by injecting fluid at high pressure to fracture rock. Like all fossil fuels, this gas produces carbon dioxide (CO2) when burnt. CO2 is the single biggest contributing gas to global warming, which is threatening catastrophic climate change. Fracking has been suggested as a ‘cleaner’ alternative to coal, but recent studies on methane gas leaking from wells contradict this. Methane is an even more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.
- Fracking won’t create large numbers of permanent jobs: The jobs are likely to be short‑term specialised jobs, filled by existing staff already employed by the company rather than local jobs.Numbers are also over‑hyped.
- A report from Friends of the Earth, supported by the PCS trade union and North West trades councils, argued that a claim by gas company Cuadrilla that fracking would bring 1,700 jobs to the area was misleading as most would last for just one year. Fracking could lead to job losses in agriculture and tourism.
- Alternative energy strategies create more and longer lasting jobs: The Friends of the Earth report concluded “Renewable energy and energy efficiency… create over six times as many jobs as gas per unit of power generated or saved and around three times as many jobs for the same amount invested.”.
- Fracking will have a major impact on communities: A planning application for one well in North Yorkshire said drilling would create over 1,400 vehicle trips. This is disruptive, polluting and dangerous. Other impacts include an increase in earthquake risk, the disfiguring of local landscapes and reduced value of houses. The rich might be able to move, but it is much harder for workers and the poor to escape.
- Fracking can damage health: Fracking has been accompanied by claims of extensive local pollution to air, land and water sources. New York’s government banned fracking because it concluded fracking posed too great a risk to health. Over 500 academic papers warn of the risk to health from fracking.
Climate jobs—the alternative
Climate change is recognised by trade unions globally as an issue of social justice affecting poor
communities around the world.The One Million Climate Jobs report proposes a ‘National Climate Service’ to create public‑sector jobs in industries that reduce carbon emissions. Seven national trade unions and many union branches have signed up to this as an alternative that can create decent, well paid, safe jobs that tackle environmental destruction. Fracking is opposed by the NUT, PCS, BFAWU, EIS, TSSA and UCU unions. Fracking has been banned in Scotland, Ireland, Bulgaria and France and there are moratoriums in many other places including Wales, Netherlands and Germany.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Trade unionists have joined environmental activists and residents to oppose fracking because working class people should not be forced to work in the dirty, dangerous and unsustainable fossil fuel industry or suffer its effects in their communities. The alternative to unemployment, low pay and climate change is not fracking, but government investment in clean energy jobs. We encourage all workers to join an appropriate trade union www.tuc.org.uk/join-union If you are in a union, take our model motion to your union branch and local trades council. Join your local anti-fracking campaign. Join the Campaign Against Climate Change.