UK shale gas development will not be at the expense of climate change targets

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Secretary of State, Edward Davey, has made the case for the safe and responsible exploration of shale gas in the UK, in line with the UK’s climate change targets.  In a speech to the Royal Society, Davey said that if shale gas could be developed in an economically viable and environmentally friendly way, it would benefit the UK – increasing energy security, providing more jobs and tax revenues.

Davey was responding to the findings of a new report which estimates that the carbon footprint of UK produced shale gas would likely be significantly less than coal and also lower than imported Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

The report by DECC Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor David Mackay, and Dr Timothy Stone, Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State, assesses the potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the production of shale gas in the UK and the compatibility of such emissions with the UK’s legislated climate change targets.

With the right safeguards in place, the report concludes, the net effect on GHG emissions from shale gas production in the UK will be relatively small.  In order to ensure that global cumulative GHG emissions to the atmosphere do not increase, worldwide shale gas production needs to be accompanied by additional international emissions-reduction efforts, including a global deal on emissions reductions and additional effort to develop low-carbon technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage.

Speaking at the Royal Society, Secretary of State, Edward Davey said: “Gas, as the cleanest fossil fuel, is part of the answer to climate change, as a bridge in our transition to a green future, especially in our move away from coal.  We have to face it: North Sea gas production is falling and we are become increasingly reliant on gas imports.  So UK shale gas could increase our energy security by cutting those imports. Home-grown gas provides jobs for our people and tax revenues for our society.”

For more information, help or advice please contact our Energy Team on 0191 211 7777 or email [email protected].