I refer to your article, “‘Scientific fact’ should decide fracking policy” (18 February).
I would like to ask Amanda Tyndall, depute director of the Edinburgh Science Festival, what she means by “emotional factors dominating the debate” – as far as I can tell, the debate has only featured reports from academics and the economic interests of the industry. Not very emotional.
Also, when she says that experts have been “pitted against” one another in the media, I would very much like to see where this has happened.
As far as I can tell, the media has mainly featured representatives of the industry insulting and demeaning opponents.
As for airtime being disproportionate to the scientific evidence, this is absolutely true: there is not enough time or space being given to the many scientific reports that outline the negative impacts of unconventional gas extraction (UGE).
And it is also true that, as Ms Tyndall says, “the hard evidence being pumped out is not making that much difference” – no matter how much detailed evidence that favours abandoning the process is revealed by the industry’s opponents, the media insists on giving credit to representatives of the oil and gas industry, without questioning their motives.
One final point – I would add that it is very dangerous to entirely discredit “emotional factors”. The UGE industry will (and does) have a huge social impact. To ignore emotional factors is to undermine society entirely.