Thursday, 7 July 2016

Fracking threatens UK’s climate change targets, says report

July 7, 2016 3:30 pm

Fracking threatens UK’s climate change targets, says report

The Cuadrilla drilling site is seen in Balcombe, southern England August 15, 2013. An oil explorer has suspended drilling in southern England in response to the threat of an escalating protest against fracking, the controversial process used to extract gas and oil from shale deposits that has transformed the U.S. energy market. Caudrilla Resources's site in the village of Balcombe in rural West Sussex has become a focal point for protesters who oppose fracking, a technique the company has pioneered in the search for shale gas in Britain. Photograph taken on August 15, 2013. REUTERS/Gareth Fuller/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY SOCIETY) - RTX12NKX©Reuters
A booming British shale gas fracking industry will blow a hole in the UK’s climate change targets unless it is tightly controlled, the government’s advisers on global warming have warned.
At least three conditions must be met to address the risk, according to a report by the Committee on Climate Change, a statutory body set up to advise ministers on keeping greenhouse gas levels within legal limits.

Any shale gas produced in the UK should displace imports rather than increase overall use; the risk of methane leaks must be rapidly addressed; and ministers will have to offset shale gas’s impact on the climate by cutting greenhouse gas emissions in other industries.
It is not clear how easy it will be for these conditions to be met, the report says. “Existing uncertainties over the nature of the exploitable shale gas resource and the potential size of a UK industry make it impossible to know,” said Professor Jim Skea, a member of the Committee on Climate Change.
“Under best practice, UK shale gas may have a lower carbon footprint than much of the gas that we import. However, gas is a fossil fuel wherever it comes from.”
That means it is not a climate-friendly option unless it can be used with equipment that captures and stores carbon dioxide emissions before they enter the atmosphere. Governments around the world, including the UK, have committed billions of dollars to develop carbon capturing technology but high costs have limited its use. A £1bn plan to boost carbon capture in the UK was scrapped in last November’s Budget.

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