24 May 2011
Responding to a report published by the Energy and Climate Change Committee yesterday on the development of shale gas in the UK (1), Green MP Caroline Lucas said:
"Given the serious concerns outlined in this report, it is astonishing that the Energy and Climate Change Committee fails to reach the logical conclusion of recommending a moratorium on shale gas. Dismissing concerns, for example, on the grounds that UK regulations are stronger than in the States, while taking a ‘wait and see' approach here is highly irresponsible.
"The report itself admits that the benefits of shale gas are limited, stating that although it believes climate emissions from gas to be lower than from coal, they are still far higher than from many low-carbon technologies and can therefore contribute little towards our long term emissions reduction targets. In fact, research cited by WWF suggests that the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas may even exceed that of coal.
"The report also states that onshore shale gas is unlikely to increase our energy security ‘very dramatically', while offshore reserves are expensive and difficult to access. And perhaps most importantly, Committee chairman Tim Yeo MP acknowledges that exploiting shale gas may divert much needed investment away from genuinely low carbon technologies such as wind and solar, thanks to its effect on gas prices."
Caroline Lucas concluded: "So instead of caving in to fierce lobbying by the gas industry, the UK government should follow the example of France and several US states by agreeing a moratorium on new shale gas exploration, at least until the environmental effects are fully understood - while urgently prioritising the development of renewables and energy efficiency measures."