The row over fracking for natural gas has hit the UK, with protests over plans in the village of Balcombe. Could they have a point? Studies are suggesting fracking could accelerate climate change, rather than slow it.

The case for fracking rests on its reputed ability to stem global warming. Burning gas emits half as much planet-warming carbon dioxide as an equivalent amount of coal. That is why, after embracing fracking, CO2 emissions have fallen in the US.

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When Walt Whitman wrote, "I am large, I contain multitudes," little did he know the truth behind the metaphor.

Recent science reveals that a hundred trillion microorganisms live in the human body, outnumbering our own cells ten to one. It could legitimately be said that we are more them than us-or that the very idea of our being discrete organisms is fundamentally wrong.

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