This week is Green Great Britain Week, while also shockingly marking the start of fracking at Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site.
Yesterday in Parliament, Salford and Eccles MP Rebecca Long-Bailey pointed out the screaming hypocrisy of the clash, listing five acts of the Tory Government that show climate change policy reversal.
On fracking, she said that the "Government have pursued a policy of fracking at any cost, overruling local planning decisions and reportedly even considering relaxing earthquake regulations.
"Shale gas can only be described as low carbon if it replaces coal in the energy mix, but coal is already on its way out of the UK's energy mix, before fracking has even started" she explained "If shale gas were to come online now, it would be displacing genuinely low-carbon energy, not coal.
"James Hansen, the former NASA scientist known as the father of climate science, last week slammed this Government's decision to pursue fracking as 'aping' Donald Trump" she added "What a terrible irony it is that the first day of Green Great Britain Week is the day that fracking is due to commence in Preston. How is this compatible with net zero emissions?"
Meanwhile, today, Vivienne Westwood showed her break dance moves on Cuadrilla's 'draconian injunction line' to Abba's Dancing Queen in a show of resistance and to stand up for the right to protest.
Supporting her was her son, environmental activist and entrepreneur Joe Corré, who says: "Britain's democracy has been run roughshod over by the Tories who are defying local government objection to fracking, to instead 'Stand up for the dying oil and gas industry' and breach our Paris Climate Change Objectives...
"The man they did it all for, Brexiteer Jim Ratcliffe, Britain's richest man worth £20 billion according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2018, and owner of INEOS, the petrochemicals #Fracking4Plastic monster, has repaid the Tory's steadfast loyalty by leaving the country and becoming a tax exile in Monaco" he explains.
"Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Germany have all rejected fracking" he adds "England has been left flapping in the wind. The Conservative Government is now isolated as the only main political party waving the last and final flag of air polluting fracking".
The Preston New Road Action Group also slammed the lack of democracy surrounding the Cuadrilla frack attack..."We are deeply disappointed that despite many ongoing concerns and challenges, the decision to progress fracking at this time has been taken.
"Over 100,000 people objected to this fracking application" the group adds "In addition, our parish council, Fylde Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, rejected the application. They had a duty of care to local residents and they fulfilled that duty.
"The wishes and democratic decisions of our community have been ignored by the Government in favour of an industry that does nothing to enhance our climate or environment" the group concludes "There are now hundreds of scientific studies that have already identified risks and actual harms resulting from fracking. The UK Government has blatantly ignored them all."
Together with fracking, Rebecca Long-Bailey also slated the Government for failing to invest in renewable energy, quoting the Environmental Audit Committee reference to a "dramatic and worrying collapse", falling by 56% in 2017. She also cited figures showing that the rate of deployment of new solar fell 95% since 2015, while planning applications for new onshore wind fell by 94%, due to "changes in planning rules and Government funding...
"The Government now plan to remove support to small-scale renewables, which according to the Solar Trade Association, risks the almost total collapse of the industry" she said, adding that "the Government announced that they are cutting the electric vehicle plug-in grant by £1,000; a move described by industry as 'astounding'."
Finally, she cited the Committee on Climate Change, which noted that the Government is nowhere near meeting existing carbon budgets, which are set with a view to achieving an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050...
Quoting all the stats, Rebecca Long-Bailey asked "How is this compatible with net zero emissions?". Indeed, she asked five times without getting a suitable response.
Meanwhile, closer to home, the Greater Manchester Pension Fund is to face a demonstration at its annual general meeting this Friday. The GM Pension Fund is administered by Tameside Council in league with the other nine local authorities, including Salford City Council, and has over £1.2billion directly invested in fossil fuel companies that engage in fracking, coal mining and oil and gas extraction (for details see previous Salford Star article – click here)
"We now know we have to take immediate steps to avoid a climate catastrophe, not carry on investing in fracking and other industries that are wrecking our climate" says Fossil Free Greater Manchester's Chris Smith "The Fund's annual report shows they also have over £150,000 invested in fracking in Lancashire, contrary to most Greater Manchester authorities' policies..."
Salford City Council's policy on fracking stops short of a local ban.* Last year, as other local authorities, including Bury and Preston Council, banned fracking, Planning Lead Member Councillor Derek Antrobus, proposing a motion on fracking and local democracy, said that it would be "absolutely ludicrous" for the city to ban fracking as unsafe. Instead, a motion was passed that "expresses concern" about "exploiting new sources of fossil fuel"...
The protest against GM Pension Fund will take place at 12:30pm on Friday 19th October at GM Pension Fund offices, Guardsman Tony Downes House, 5 Manchester Road, Droylsden M43 6SF
*For full details see previous Salford Star article, It Would Be Ludicrous To Ban Fracking in Salford – click here