Shale Gas Won’t Hurt Climate Targets, U.K. Government Study Says
The U.K. can use its shale gas resources without risking targets for reducing carbon emissions, the government said, citing a study it commissioned.
The research by David Mackay and Timothy Stone was published after anti-fracking protesters disrupted drilling by Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. in Balcombe, England. It’s a rebuke to critics of fracking who say greenhouse-gas emissions may be exacerbated by the technique that extracts gas and oil by grinding underground rocks with water and chemicals.
Prime Minister David Cameron is pushing to exploit Britain’s shale resources after fracking reversed oil and gas output declines in the U.S. and made it the world’s biggest natural gas producer.
“This report shows that the continued use of gas is perfectly consistent with our carbon budgets over the next couple of decades,” Energy Secretary Edward Davey said in a statement. “U.K. shale gas production must not be at the expense of our wider environmental aims –- indeed, if done properly, it will support them.”
The British Geological Survey estimates a single area -- the Bowland basin stretching from the east Midlands into England’s northwest -- may hold as much 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas. Even if only 10 percent of the gas is extracted, a typical rate in the U.S., that’s enough to meet 47 years of U.K. demand.
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