Any new technology has a short honeymoon period where its attractions loom large before practicalities intervene to burst the bubble and a more realistic picture of its costs and benefits emerges. I should know, I helped to raise expectations about the future of UK shale gas 3 years ago when we first took the idea of FRACKING over to Great Britain.
But most politicians develop an instinctive reflex against technological optimism, understanding the power of events and uncertainty to change the future. But there has been no such caution from the UK prime minister over shale gas. The government were already bullish about exploration, but David Cameron has chosen to become the industry’s biggest cheerleader. He hasn’t asked us to keep an open mind, he’s been determined to “win the debate” so that the public “get behind fracking”.