The former leader of Greenpeace UK broke ranks with the anti-fracking group Tuesday by suggesting that fracking is an essential tool to help fight global warming.
Former Greenpeace U.K. Executive Director Stephen Tindale claimed in an article for the UK Sun that fracking helps reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by weaning Britain off coal. Tindale held a leadership position with the group from 2000-2005.
“[T]oday Britain faces its biggest environmental challenge ever — tackling global warming while still keeping the lights on,” he wrote. “And as a lifelong champion of the Green cause, I’m convinced that fracking is not the problem but a central part of the answer.”
Public officials approved plans on Oct. 6 to allow the energy industry to begin fracturing in Britain despite objections from environmentalists.
Companies can now use fracking technologies to crack British shale rock and extract natural gas. The U.K. banned fracking in 2011, but nominally lifted the ban the next year.
Tindale praised the government’s approval plan, calling it “a great start, but that’s all it is. We need dozens more like it if Britain is to meet our energy needs in the decades to come.”
“And if activist groups including Greenpeace really want to help the environment, they should stop protesting about projects like this and let them be built as quickly as possible,” said the former Greenpeace UK head, who now leads the environmental think-tank Climate Answers.
Tindale’s decision to toss his weight behind the fracking movement comes as environmentalists continue to get walloped by politicians and parties generally in favor of fighting global warming.
Iowa Democratic congressman Dave Loebsack and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, for instance, used a portion of their commentary at an event at the Democratic National Convention in July to decry the movement to force fossil fuels on the dust heap of history.
The Loebsack and Rendell’s comments echo those made by other liberal sophisticates, such as President Barack Obama’s Science Advisor, John Holdren, who told reporters on July 11 that the anti-oil movement is “unrealistic.”
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign began criticizing the campaign as well, with Clinton’s campaign adviser John Podesta calling “keep it in the ground” activists’ goal “completely impractical.”
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