Fracking Report Irony

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has just released the most objective analysis of fracking produced by any government agency in the world.

If there’s one thing New Zealand does better than almost anywhere else, it’s that pretty neutral analysis of policy choices gets put out by different branches of government.

But despite no shocking evidence that requires an immediate ban on the practise of fracking, the Greens still summarise the report in a way that suits their agenda of stopping economic growth at any cost.

The irony is that environmentalists make statements like “oil companies ignore that evidence that drilling is risky and will destroy our environment” when they also ignore evidence that their concerns, while worthy of being raised, are nowhere near as dramatic in reality as they make them out to be for political purposes.

I definitely agree that strong regulation is needed. But the incessant reluctance on the part of environmentally aware people to realise how New Zealand is a third world country makes me despair for the future living standards of my generation.

I believe that a major driver of the public’s disapproval of fracking and offshore drilling is because they’ve seen pictures of what goes wrong.

Being able to picture a disaster increases the likelihood of the disaster occurring in the mind of the average person, without reference to the actual likelihood based on past experiences.

It is similar to the attraction of large numbers in cost-benefit analyses that consistently prove that vices cost our economy $11.94 trillion per decade.

The uncritical acceptance of environmental concerns is as disturbing as uncritical acceptance of corporate statements on what they’re doing to reduce environmental risks.

Both sides are as bad as each other. Except one will never get the “social license” it desperately desires.

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