True greens should embrace fracking for shale gas in order to combat climate change, the energy minister has said.
Greg Barker said ideological convictions rather than sound science motivated anti-fracking campaigners, and urged an expansion of fracking in the UK.
“If you are really against climate change, then to be anti-fracking is incredibly dangerous,” he said. This was because coal-fired power generation could be replaced with gas, which burns with lower carbon dioxide emissions. “The knee-jerk reactions to fracking is [based on] ideology, it’s not science-based.”
Barker, one of the architects of David Cameron’s pledge to lead the “greenest government ever”, said environmentalists needed to cheer up.
He warned of a tendency for greens to “slit their wrists at every opportunity”, to see the world as “going to hell in a handbasket” and to imagine that the green agenda had been “thrown out the window” when it had not been.
At a meeting of the all-party parliamentary environment group, Barker also defended the green deal, the government scheme by which households can access loans to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes.
Tuesday is the first anniversary of the policy’s launch. There were 1,612 households with green deal plans in progress at the end of December, the government reported last week.