A former Greenpeace leader butted heads Tuesday with the anti-fracking movement by insisting that hydraulic fracturing is needed to help fight global warming.
Stephen Tindale, who was executive director of Greenpeace U.K. from 2000 to 2005, said that fracking, used to extract natural gas and oil from underground rock, helps combat greenhouse-gas emissions by reducing reliance on coal.
“[T]oday Britain faces its biggest environmental challenge ever — tackling global warming while still keeping the lights on,” Mr. Tindale said in the Tuesday article for the [U.K.] Sun. “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.”
He praised the British government’s recent approval of a shale-gas project in Lancashire, 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 Mr. Tindale, who now leads the environmental think-tank Climate Answers.
Foes of fracking have championed replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, while critics argue that such power sources are currently incapable of replacing coal, gas and oil in meeting electricity demand.
Greenpeace U.K. has opposed the Lancashire project, along with local activists who have challenged the government’s decision earlier this month to overrule the Lancashire County Council, which had refused to grant a permit.
“Lancashire said ‘no’ loudly and clearly and in line with local planning policies, that decision should stand,” the Preston New Road Action Group said in a statement.