By Anders Lorenzen
Nick Grealy, a passionate advocate for shale gas in the UK, died last month. Nick was just 64. Cancer took his life and he leaves behind a wife and two children. When hearing of his passing I remember noting that Nick was only two years older than my dad who we also lost to cancer at the early age of 62.
First and foremost my thoughts are extended to his family in this terribly difficult time.
Nick was controversial at times, he loved a good debate and did not shy away from facing his opponents. He was a passionate advocate and campaigner for shale gas development in the UK, and he even suggested we should frack in London. He thought developing shale gas in the short term was the best way to tackle greenhouse gas emissions in the near short term. He pointed out that shale gas would act as a perfect partner for renewables.
And that failure to develop our own gas resources could see us open up the Arctic to gas development, importing it from unfriendly regimes such as Russia; or from regimes such as Qatar who do not adhere to the same human rights standards as we do. And fundamentally that would have a far higher carbon footprint than developing our own capacity.
Nick made me think, and he made me at least consider my opinion on some issues. He once pointed out to me the hypocrisy of the Scottish government having banned fracking, while at the same time importing fracked shale gas imported from the US to the Grangemouth facility in Scotland.
I often disagreed with him on many of these points, either on Twitter or during various discussions when I bumped into him at events and conferences. While we disagreed on many things, we also agreed on many things. He was a strong Remain supporter, very worried about Donald Trump and also a Labour supporter. He told me he saw himself as an environmentalist. He loved the open spaces and nature along the Thames and Richmond Park, not far from Kingston where he lived.
He believed in openness and pragmatism, and he was not afraid to say when he agreed with someone, even though he would normally otherwise disagree with that person`s views. He always reached out to the people he disagreed with and tried to find common ground.
I respect that. Even on his last days, he kept fighting for what he was passionate about, and his dedication was admirable.
Even though I never got to know him that well, my experience was that he was a kind person. He would not shy away from reaching out to me if he had seen anything he thought I would be interested in or an issue I should pursue.
I do have one regret though. I never had a chance to reply to his latest message to me.
R.I.P Nick, you will be missed.