The toxic politics of fracking in Britain beg important questions: are our leaders serving the interests of the people, or their wealthy friends in the fracking industry? Whatever the answer, one thing is clear: the government's wilful disregard of legitimate public concerns over fracking is a shameful attempt to impose a future on this country that three-quarters of us do not want. Fracking, it seems, can poison democracy as well as the environment.
Everywhere we look, young people can change the country for the better, but feel tempted not to try. There are reasons for this. Many young people feel abandoned by political parties, who they believe are chasing 'marginal' 'swing' votes or those from older sectors of society. Students feel abandoned by the Lib Dems, who broke their promise on tuition fees, the Conservatives, who never even made such a promise, and by the Labour Party, who introduced tuition fees in the first place. They look at their bank balances, and justifiably associate what they see with a political system which offers them nothing.
These people are on the frontline and these planning decisions represent a significant moment in the battle to stop fracking across the UK. If the Council refuses the application it will raise serious doubts on whether any community in the UK would have to accept an extreme form of fossil fuel extraction on their doorsteps and under their property.
The Green Party have a duty to continue to provide for the nation a fresh, fair and radical alternative to the 'business as usual' establishment, just as media chiefs from the BBC, ITV, SKY et al have a duty to promote and encourage a wide, engaging and relevant debate involving those extended the right to vote and elect.
Energy security is one of the most talked about topics not only in terms of the debates around climate change action but also conventional policy. Energy price and stability have very real economic implications for any nation and there is now more than ever increasing concern to secure the resource by internalising energy generation.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will be the biggest international 'free-trade deal' in history. It will standardise EU regulations with their almost non-existent US counterparts. Negotiations are secret and over 90 per cent consultants are corporate lobbyists, which is more than a little suspicious.
Fracking presents a new challenge for OPEC, as well as opportunities. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that, over the next five years, one-third of the new oil production of the world will be developed in the USA. By 2020, the US will be a net exporter of gas. By 2035. It will be energy self-sufficient, they say...
In addition to these local effects, natural gas extraction has global environmental consequences, because the methane gas that is accessed through extraction and the carbon dioxide released during methane burning are both greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change. New fracking technologies allow for the extraction of more gas, thus contributing more to climate change than previous natural gas extraction."