“Not a great turnout due to weather, but we all had a great time, and I’m sure some good stuff will come out of it in the next few months. I’m getting a really good buzz about it, rather like the anti-roads protests back at the beginning of the 90s, and I think this is going to have really positive results in the next few years.”
This is how environmental activist Paul Mobbs described the Camp Frack 2 event at Mere Brow, near Tarleton in Lancashire on the weekend of the 10th, 11th & 12th May.
The event was certainly a unique occurrence despite the wind and the rain.
The Camp brought together for the first time, a diverse range of trades union and environmental groups and organisations who have generally not worked closely together ever before. These would include a range of local residents groups opposed to fracking from across Britain and Ireland, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Campaign against Climate Change, Frack Off, Biofuels Watch, as well as trades unionists from a number of national unions.
Equally as important, rather than simply seeking to raise greater public awareness of the need to oppose fracking and other forms of extreme energy on the grounds of their potentially huge environmental destructiveness, those responsible for organising the Camp, also agreed to counterpose to them, as well as the burning of fossil fuels in general, and the continued growth in unemployment and austerity, an alternative, co-ordinated approach to all these issues, in the shape of the proposals of the One Million Climate Jobs Report.
The proposals contained in the One Million Climate Jobs Report, which is supported nationally by the PCS, UCU, TSSA, CWU and most recently the country’s largest union UNITE, advances much more environmentally friendly and sustainable alternatives to shale gas and coal bed methane extraction, which would not only help secure Britain’s energy sovereignty and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 80% over the next 20 years, but would also put over a third of those currently unemployed immediately into decently paid work within a 12 months period.
This jobs figure also contrasts starkly with the less than 10,000 jobs the fracking company Cuadrilla optimistically suggests, that the exploitation of shale gas reserves in Britain might generate over the next 35 years, and which would necessarily disappear once the gas has all been burnt or ceases to be commercially viable to extract.
How could one million climate jobs be created and what type of jobs would they be?
As the Report outlines, see: http://www.climate-change- jobs.org/sites/default/files/1MillionClimateJobs_2010.PDF this could be done at a net cost of £18billion per annum, i.e at a small fraction of the cost of bailing out the banks, and the interest we are paying on that debt, by creating:
* 425,000 jobs in developing and producing renewable electricty via wave, tidal, wind, solar and hydro power.
* 175,000 jobs in refitting, renovating and insulating everyone’s homes, public buildings and businesses so as to reduce energy usage and everyone’s energy bills in the process.
* 300,000 jobs in the development of a better, more efficient, massively expanded, fully integrated and cheaper public transport system. Also, by switching freight from road and air to rail, and replacing petrol and diesel engines with ones which will run using renewable energy.
* 100,000 jobs in agriculture, industry and education, so as to produce more of our own food in Britain, reducing natural gas leaks, including from landfill sites. Also, in redesigning industrial processes, and, in educating and training people in the new technologies and skills required to develop and bring about all of the above. It’s not rocket science!
Speaking on behalf of the Camp Frack 2 organising group Stephen Hall said: “Even if fracking for shale gas and other forms of extreme energy could be shown to be 100% safe, which in our view is impossible, we still don’t actually need any of these forms of energy whatsoever.
“Additionally, if what we are saying about the dangers of fracking, our continuing to rely on fossil fuels, and the growing threat of climate change are wrong, what’s the worst that can happen? The worst that can happen is we will create one million much needed sustainable jobs at decent rates of pay.
“On the other hand, if those who say fracking is safe, and who are climate change deniers are wrong, and we do nothing to address the threat of irreversible climate change, what we will be faced with as is an environmental and climate catastrophe that threatens the very existence of human life as a whole.
In our view it is not a question of how we can afford to do what we are proposing as an alternative, but rather how can we not afford it.”
Some media coverage of this weekend’s ‘Camp Frack’:
ITN/Granada video on-line at —
Anti-fracking protest camp set up near Tarleton, Lancashire
BBC News, 12/5/13
Hundreds gather at anti frack camp
Lancashire Evening Post, 12/5/13
There was also coverage on BBC Radio Lancashire and BBC’s Breakfast News on the 10th May.
And for those on-site Friday who might have missed it, here’s the absurd
response from the Conservative Party —
Photos from Camp Frack 2: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151601288116506.1073741831.774651505&type=1
More Photos from CF2 @ https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.419629514811906.1073741827.265991500175709&type=1