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Davey drops Cameron’s fracking prices pledge

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Ed Davey has dismissed the prime minister’s claim that fracking has potential to “drive energy bills down” in a speech on shale gas development.

The Liberal Democrat energy and climate change secretary confirmed reports of a shift away from David Cameron’s line in his address at the Royal Society in central London.

Cameron had sought to win public support for a wave of hydraulic fracturing across northern England in a newspaper article last month, by pointing to the likely positive impact consumers could see in their energy bills.

Last week the Ecologist reported officials at the Department for Energy and Climate change (Decc) were moving away from using the argument, preferring chancellor George Osborne’s approach of sounding “a firmly positive note without mentioning price”.

Now Davey has addressed the issue of price head-on – and conceded British shale gas development would only have a limited, uncertain effect on prices.

His speech emphasised the small-scale of British shale gas deposits compared to those in the United States, where exploitation of the resource has had a significant effect.

Limited gas exports have ended the US’ complete isolation from other markets, but it remains broadly separate from the European market into which shale gas would be introduced.

“North Sea gas didn’t significantly move UK prices – so we can’t expect UK shale production alone to have any effect,” Davey said.

“But given there are plenty of demand-side upward pressures on gas prices, as we’ve seen so painfully in recent years, shale gas is well worth pursuing simply to have more supply-side downward pressure on prices.

“For if Britain can lead in Europe and can show a lead on how shale can be done safely, and as part of a complete shift away from coal, shale gas production might take off not just in the UK but across Europe.”

Supporters of shale gas in Britain accept there are unlikely to be any short-term positive benefits, but development in Poland and elsewhere could eventually result in a shift.

Wholesale gas prices have risen by 50% in the last five years, leading Davey to conclude: “Frankly… any downward pressure that can be exerted on prices will be welcomed by consumers and industry alike.”


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Law & Politics

Police Will Be Able To Read Everyone’s Internet Search History Under New Plan

UK Police are asking the government for new surveillance powers to be able to view the Internet search history of every single person in the country.

Richard Berry, the National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman told The Guardian that “We want to police by consent, and we want to ensure that privacy safeguards are in place. But we need to balance this with the needs of the vulnerable and the victims. We essentially need the ‘who, where, when and what’ of any communication – who initiated it, where were they and when did it happened. And a little bit of the ‘what’, were they on Facebook, or a banking site, or an illegal child-abuse image-sharing website?”

“Five years ago, [a suspect] could have physically walked into a bank and carried out a transaction. We could have put a surveillance team on that but now, most of it is done online. We just want to know about the visit,” he added.

It is likely that police are already looking at your online activity, but just want the power to do it legally. As we learned from whistleblower Edward Snowden, governments are very interested what their citizens are doing online, and they do have the technology to spy on every telephone call and Internet communication.

Police in the UK have been attempting to reach for these powers through legislation for years, but they have been blocked on multiple occasions. This new effort proves that they will not be giving up on getting legal permission for their spying programs.

MP David Davis told The Guardian “It’s extraordinary they’re asking for this again, they are overreaching and there is no proven need to retain such data for a year.”

Home Secretary Theresa May will announce the specifics of the plan during a meeting about the Government’s new surveillance bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

“I’ve said many times before that it is not possible to debate the balance between privacy and security, including the rights and wrongs of intrusive powers and the oversight arrangements that govern them without also considering the threats that we face as a country,” May said.

“They include not just terrorism from overseas and home-grown in the UK, but also industrial, military and state espionage.They include not just organized criminality, but also the proliferation of once physical crimes online, such as child sexual exploitation. And the technological challenges that that brings. In the face of such threats we have a duty to ensure that the agencies whose job it is to keep us safe have the powers they need to do the job,” she added.


daily alternative | alternative news -Police Will Be Able To Read Everyone’s Internet Search History Under New Plan

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