It was a powerful talk, and I left it hopeful that the now Chancellor would learn from it and recognise through action the need to protect Earth, for all our sakes. It was not to be, and instead he has gone the other way in his determination to make the economy strong, in his view, at any cost. Only public opinion restrains his disregard for the needs of the environment, and green issues in his "dash for growth."
I am grateful to live in Wales for many reasons. The Welsh Assembly may not be perfect, but it has a degree of environmental and social sensitivity that is lacking in the Cameron government. It can be seen in its approach to plastic bag usage, the badger cull, organ donation and, like Scotland, imposing a moratorium on fracking. As George Osborne and David Cameron impose the right to frack anywhere in England, including under homes and now the most precious areas of natural beauty, a helpless public is outraged.
Loud arguments are being put forward to justify fracking in England, largely based on job creation and economic and energy benefits. Putting aside the impact of fracking on the environment, which would be considerable, little has been said about the fact that no one knows how much, if any, shale gas can, realistically, be extracted, nor that there would be no reduction in energy costs to homes and businesses, and that finding shale gas would be a temporary solution for a few years only to our growing energy needs.
For a project filled with such expensive, destructive uncertainty, why is the government so determined to press ahead as soon as possible? As Samuel Johnson said about remarriage, this surely is the triumph of hope over experience, or rather, inexperience.
It is all about money, of course, the chase for fool's gold. My sense is that fracking will be found to be disappointing, that investors will fade away and the ambitions for fracking will be dropped quietly, hopefully before too much damage is done. The government may have gone too far, too fast, this time.
(Image by Tony Webster)