MY heating is on at the moment. It uses natural gas though I would prefer electricity generated by renewable energy, even though the gas produces less CO2 than burning coal, mainly because it contains more hydrogen so there’s just over half the CO2 that coal releases per unit of energy.

All well and good you might think, and certainly better than electricity from coal fired power stations, though at the current rate of burning natural gas we’ll certainly not be able to prevent the global temperature rising by around three degrees by the end of the century.

Almost half the UK electricity still comes from gas powered generation, and then in addition about two thirds of our houses, 17 million, depend on gas for heating and cooking.

Some 50 years ago the North Sea was the answer to all our energy demands, with one gas field after another making the country self sufficient until 2004. Then we had to import again as the North Sea fields declined and so we began to look for lower cost land based gas fields.

However, unlike the simple geology in the North Sea, where the gas just flows freely once tapped, land based drilling in Lancashire and Yorkshire involves fracturing the deep rock layers to force the gas out, and this ‘fracking’ results in a number of damaging results with high leakage rates.

A couple of minor earthquakes near Blackpool certainly made the news in 2011, and local people in North Yorkshire oppose the developing field at Kirby Misperton, many of them because it means more road traffic rather than the increase in climate changing atmospheric CO2.

There are alternatives, apart from the ever decreasing price of wind and solar energy, and the answer might be with the development of synthetic oil and gas using current day hydrogen and CO2 as raw materials.