Wales Green Party's lead MEP candidate, Andy Chyba, captured the mood of the 100+ crowd in front of the Senedd protesting at the threat of fracking and the mad dash for gas. His rousing speech slated First Minister Carwyn Jones' lack of leadership on the issue and made the case for Wales leading the world in renewable energy.
Andy Chyba has been at the forefront of the fight against fracking for the last three years, leading the Vale says NO! at the Llandow public inquiry, co-founding the UK's Anti-Fracking Network and being involved with Frack-Free Wales from its launch. His geology and geography background have enabled him to offer a degree of expertise that has cut through the spin of the fracker's representatives.
In his speech, Chyba demolished Carwyn Jones' stance that shale gas can be a transitional fuel as we move towards a low carbon future. He said "This only ever had any traction if we were to burn gas instead of coal, but there is absolutely no evidence of this happening – coal production has continued apace in the USA. " Citing a recent report for the London School of Economics, he stated, "we have to leave between 60 and 80% of current known reserves in the ground if we are to stand a chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change. Wake up Carwyn – the very last thing we need is to keep looking for ever more extreme forms of fossil fuels!" This view was endorsed later in the week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - the authoritative UN group of over 600 of the world's most eminent climate scientists.
Turning to the positive alternatives that Chyba says we need to focus on instead of extreme fossil fuels, he asserted that "If we had proper leadership here in Wales, we could be at the very forefront of the world's low carbon economies, given the staggering potential for renewable energy we have here in Wales – not just wind and solar, but ground source heating and biogas potential that would allow us to heat our homes a lot cheaper and safer than using shale gas – and not forgetting the near criminal waste of the second highest tidal range in the entire world rushing past our doors as regular as clockwork, just over there! " pointing to the Bristol Channel.
He backed this up by quoting from a recent discussion document entitled 'Bristol Channel Energy: A Balanced Technology Approach' which shows how a total of 14GW are available from a combination of tidal range, tidal stream, wave, and offshore wind technologies - technologies we have today. Chyba pointed out that this is "the equivalent of 4 Wylfa sized nuclear power stations, at least 10 Gas-fired power stations, or put another way – more than enough to meet the average consumption level of the whole of Wales today."
Having made his case convincingly, Chyba left the platform to big cheers when he told Carwyn Jones that "we are not going away until we get the environmental and social justice of a ban on fracking in Wales". Jones has failed to respond as yet.
The full text of Andy Chyba's speech can be found at: http://votegreeneu2014.wordpress.com/