There is much ado about shale gas at the moment. It is coming nicely into fashion. It is cheap, produces low-carbon dioxide compared to coal, is cleaner, and offers energy independence and security compared to current gas and oil suppliers. It is far cheaper and greener than current wind energy solutions such as turbine farms.
After many years of talk of global warming, it looks very like that has flattened off. With convincing new studies coming through every week, the warming we saw in the late 20th century looks more and more to me to have been mainly caused by natural cycles, with only a fairly small push by increasing CO2. Temperature has levelled off, with no increase in temperature for 15 years, strong evidence that CO2 increases were not a primary cause, since CO2 levels have carried on increasing with no associated rise in temperature. Many astrophysicists and other scientists, (just about everyone except climate scientists whose jobs depended on warming and greens who were on the climate change bandwagon to push their own sociopolitical agendas), are now suggesting that we are heading into a long period of colder climate. I am happy now to accept that the alarmism was much overdone and I am no longer concerned about warming. I am far more concerned about the economic damage being done because of the mis-informed panic, especially in the UK and the rest of Europe. The CO2 problem hasn’t gone away, it is universally agreed that it does act as a greenhouse gas, but it has certainly been revised downwards as a problem, with evidence that it isn’t as strong a forcing agent as claimed, and we have several more decades at least to worry about solving it. As we move to better technologies anyway, it will solve itself.
As the climate cools, we will need more energy for heating. The cooling is expected by some scientists to last for decades, so this won’t be a short-lived market.
There are several up and coming new technologies that will offer us abundant energy. I am a big believer that photovoltaic solar will eventually come up trumps, but it needs a while yet. Nuclear power based on thorium is another big contender, offering nuclear without most of the problems. But it isn’t ready yet either. Wind energy is ludicrously expensive, requires scarce materials and needs backups anyway, either that or batteries also using scarce materials. Shale gas however is already coming on the market, the extraction technologies are charging ahead, supplies are being discovered, and once we have it out of the ground, it needs only ordinary gas power stations. Shale gas will therefore be an accelerating trend. Calls to develop it in the UK will get progressively louder, and companies involved in extracting it will profit greatly. While there are still many who remain convinced that warming is on the cards, the share prices are probably undervalued, so it is a good time to get in to gas extraction companies. Invest before the worst of the rush.