COMMENT: Let’s get the fracking facts right in national debate

Fergus Ewing, MSP, Scottish Energy Minister
Fergus Ewing, MSP, Scottish Energy Minister

In his last parliamentary statement in Holyrood on shale energy in Scotland, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing told MPs that the temporary ban would remain in place until the Scottish government had carried out a full public consultation.

He added: “We should have a national debate about the topic, especially since we are to acquire, we hope, powers in respect of the unconventional oil and gas issue before very long.

“So this is the right time to have a national debate informed by evidence.”

COMMENT: Let’s get the fracking facts right

Scottish Energy News entirely agrees with Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing. This is the right time to have a national debate – informed by evidence – on shale energy in Scotland.

Facts are sacred. And as our National Poet Rabbie Burns also said in his 1786 poem, A Dream:

“Facts are chiels which winnae ding

An downa be disputit’

This translates into English as: Facts are fellows that will not be overturned and cannot be disputed’. With his legal training, Ewing kens full well the importance of facts.

Scottish Energy News also welcomes the facts – which is one of the reasons we are holding The UK Shale Energy Conference 2015.

Some religions – both today and at varying times from history – say, in effect: “Our god created the world and it is therefore perfect. We should not change it in any way – and we do not need to listen to <your scientific> facts.”

Consequently, those people and organisations who say, in effect, we do not need to know facts to make a decision (say, on shale mining) because we believe it is not safe, are substituting faith for facts. Which is bad.

But what is worse is that it not logically possible to have an evidence-led national debate on ‘faith’.

Energy is too important to be based on ‘faith’.

We need facts, and nothing but the facts. We will continue to play our part in reporting the facts – so that decisions are based on factual evidence.  So it may be worth reflecting here on a few chiels which winnae ding:

Shale and Safety: get the fracking facts right from the Royal Society of Edinburgh

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