The effects of fracking could be as dangerous as asbestos, thalidomide, or tobacco toxins, the UK’s leading scientist has warned, claiming the government has adopted the process without considering the side effects.
In a flagship report produced by Professor Sir Mark Walport, the government’s chief advisor on science policy, it is warned that fracking could have serious negative impacts on health and the environment that could last for decades.
Sir Mark Walport also said the government is putting too much faith in fracking, and that historical examples of cheap energy extraction often ended up causing more damage to the environment in the long-term.
“History presents plenty of examples of innovation trajectories that later proved to be problematic — for instance involving asbestos, benzene, thalidomide, dioxins, lead in petrol, tobacco, many pesticides, mercury, chlorine and endocrine-disrupting compounds,” he writes in the report.
“In all these and many other cases, delayed recognition of adverse effects incurred not only serious environmental or health impacts, but massive expense and reductions in competitiveness for firms and economies persisting in the wrong path.”
The report, published on Friday, is a huge blow to the British government, which has touted fracking as the best means to produce energy in the future.
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