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5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping a cool head when discussing Fracking, 12 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Extreme Environment: How environmental exaggeration harms emerging economies (Kindle Edition)
Ivo Vegter is basically the James Delingpole of South Africa, but, unlike James, Ivo has a better scientific background and can therefor debate the technically issues surrounding fracking in more detail. South Africa is blessed with a rich and varied mineral endowment and every time a new discovery is made there are pressure groups that want to stop the development of these resources.

In the nineteenth century, when gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand, a dour and dumb boer Paul Kruger, who was president of the then Transvaal (Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek) ZAR tried his best to stop the exploitation of the valuable resource. He started the legacy of African corruption long before Robert Mugabe was born. Fortunately, the British intervened in what is know as the Boer War in Britain (with references filed under Colonial and Native Wars of the 1900s in British libraries) or the grossly pumped name of the Second Boer War in South African history books, and ousted Paul Kruger, who halfway through war hightailed to Switzerland, setting another example that was followed by other African dictators like for instance Idi Amin.

Now in the 21st century another mineral resource, shale gas in the Karoo was discovered. And right on cue, following in the footsteps of that great liar and scoundrel Paul Kruger and in the time honoured tradition of spragging mineral development, is the Treasure the Karoo Action Group. The TKAG is supported by one of the wealthiest families in South Africa, the Ruperts, who like the Kennedys of America, made their fortune from selling booze and tobacco.

In this book Ivo is asking for a proper public discourse about the potential impacts the development of the Shale Gas in Karoo would have, not only in the smaller communities of the Karoo where most residents are living in abject poverty, but on the broader South African economy. He is arguing that the social and economic benefits of developing the Shale Gas resources would outway the small (and let us not forget temporary) local impacts of shale gas extraction. The TKAG is hyping up the environmental impacts of Shale Gas extraction, a story that is repeating itself here in the UK, water poisoning (not just mere pollution) earthquakes (not just mere tremors) and all the ten plagues of Egypt will ensue if fracking is permitted in the dry and barren and lifeless wasteland known as the Karoo.

Ivo finishes the book with chapters describing how fearmongering and doomsday predictions have taken over rational discussions by the modern environmental movements, both in South Africa and in the rest of the world. We don't have much time left, and we must save the world today!
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