Here is a couple of issues that seem modestly complex, so mostly we leave it to those who understand these issues. Remembering the principle of the Black Swan – ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’ causes me to want with a little caution here. It is clear that the political will of government has lost its way, or at least been confused with following public opinion so as to do alright in the polls.
CSG – or Coal Seam Gas, is a rich source of energy trapped in the earth surface and once extracted is thought, if you belove the adds to furnish our power needs for foreseeable future. The gas is largely methane, which is then burned to generate power. Environmentally the byproducts of burning methane will include various of the carbon emissions that we are now intending to tax, because as signatories to the Kyoto protocol we are committed to reducing our carbon emissions. I suspect burning methane may represent fewer carbon emissions than say burning coal.
Of much greater concern is the issue of the extraction of methane or CSG and that comes down to a process of ‘hydraulic fracturing‘ or ‘fracking’. There is significant evidence to suggest that as a means of extraction this method leave a lot to be desired. There are strong suggestion that this process does damage to the water table, and the the chemicals used in the process in fact contaminate the land for viable agriculture for many years into the future. As a group farmers and environmentalists have been significantly opposed to fracking for some time. One of the problems is there is no instant connection, it seems that the process begins and the effects do not begin for some time. A little like smoking where the action may be somewhat removed from the consequence of the action.
And then the media ownership question raises it’s head again as we discover that Gina Rinehart has acquired a 12.58% interest in Fairfax Holdings. Gina Rinehart is a successful entrepreneur with a significant holding in a number of mining interests. Is she likely to have a stake in CSG extraction. YES. Does her acquiring a stake in fairfax mean that she will have undue influence on what is published? I hope not. Do I think there is cause for an amber light? YES I DO!