Actor Mark Ruffalo, famous for playing the Hulk/Bruce Bannner in the Avengers films, has taken his role as a green superhero rather literally, releasing a video condemning David Cameron for promoting environmentally un-friendly fracking.
“Mr Cameron” he implored, “you’re making an enormous mistake, and it’s a legacy mistake. Because there’s no fracking that can be done safely.”
Ruffalo has campaigned against fracking in the US before and helped to successfully lobby for a two year ban of the technology in New York back in 2014, as well continuing to appeal to Obama to abandon it altogether. He has now turned his attention to the UK, making his statements in a video released by environmental campaign group, Friends of the Earth.
The controversy surrounding fracking in the UK has been gaining traction lately, as a recent bill allowed it to occur in national parks and places of special scientific interest. Last June, local authorities refused proposed drilling and fracking schemes in Blackpool and Preston. Further schemes were also turned down in Roseacre and in Little Plumpton for reasons ranging from effects on the landscape to traffic concerns. However, in November last year, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, said that the decision over whether or not to allow fracking in Lancashire would now be wholly in the hands of the government, rather than local councils.
A Department for Energy and Climate Change spokesperson recently said that the promotion of fracking for shale gas production is “good for our energy security and will help create jobs and growth.”
These same sentiments have been echoed by the DECC’s head, Amber Rudd, whose abandonment of renewable subsidies and promotion of fracking have been, largely, in the name of energy security.
The DECC spokesperson went on: “there is no question that we need natural gas in the UK and if just 10% of the estimated gas in shale rock could be recovered, it would be enough to meet our energy demand for almost 40 years.”
Lancashire is seen as the prime target for the fracking industry, given the widely held belief that is in in this ground in the North West that a large majority of the shale gas reserves in the UK lie. However, the government’s insistence that it will be a decision made in Westminster, rather than in the county itself, has drawn criticism.
Ruffalo himself criticised Cameron’s pushing forward with fracking despite resistance from residents.
“Your people don’t want it,” he said. “You have already told them once before that if they didn’t want it, you wouldn’t push them to take it, and you’re turning back on your word.”
Ruffalo is likely referring to recent polling results that found that “those who know more about fracking tend to be more likely to oppose it.” More people were against fracking than were in favour of it, according to the poll.
Donna Hume, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth, supported Ruffalo’s claims.
“Mark Ruffalo is right,” she said, “Mr Cameron must listen to the people of Lancashire and not force this risky and unpopular industry on the county or anywhere else in England.”
Renewable energy which, according to the same poll that found disdain for fracking has large support among the population, is “where all new wealth is going to be created…[and] is where new jobs are going to be created” said Ruffalo.
He said: “we are at the precipice of a renewable energy revolution.”
He made reference to the recent summit in Paris that culminated in an agreement to reduce carbon emissions worldwide, implying that the current government’s policy of promoting fracking flies in the face of the promises made there.