Shale gas incompatible with addressing climate change

Published on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 10:14
Posted by Scott Buckler

Responding to the publication today by DECC of a report recommending measures to mitigate the risks of seismic tremors from hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’), WWF said that major extraction of shale gas in the UK was incompatible with addressing climate change

WWF opposes the use of hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas and other unconventional fuels from the ground. As the International Energy Agency pointed out in its Golden Age of Gas report , estimated global conventional gas resources are sufficient for 120 years of current global consumption whilst estimated total recoverable unconventional gas resources are equivalent to 250 years at current consumption rates. The same report found that “An increased share of natural gas in the global energy mix is far from enough on its own to put us on a carbon emissions path consistent with an average global temperature rise of no more than 2˚C”.

Jenny Banks, energy policy officer at WWF-UK said “The idea that gas is the solution to climate change is a myth put out by vested interests. What you’ll never hear from industry or government is that replacing all the coal we currently use for power generation with gas would leave greenhouse emissions six times too high.”

The government has announced its intention to launch a gas generation strategy in Autumn 2012 focusing on security of supply. WWF said the scope of this strategy should be widened to include detail on exactly how, amidst the recent raft of concessions to the gas industry including a guarantee that emissions from gas will not be curbed before 2045, the government intends to ensure that excess gas does not scupper the UK’s efforts to reduce its emissions in line with the climate change act and specifically the decarbonisation of the power sector by 2030.

Jenny Banks said: “The current mentality within government is clearly that we should get every last drop of fossil fuel out the ground. It’s ludicrous to think that this is compatible with addressing climate change. Clearly, reducing emissions means leaving shale gas and other unconventional fuels in the ground."

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