Shale gas is a form of unconventional gas, unconventional referring to the techniques used to extract the energy sources, not the sources themselves. It is made up of heavily compacted mud and clay, and is much less permeable than ordinary rock formations containing gas. To extract the gas that is trapped in shale, horizontal drilling techniques and hydraulic fracturing (also known as ‘fracking’) are required. Fracking involves high-risk activities that can have a devastating impact on health and the local environment and has therefore already been banned by certain regions and Member Sates in the EU.
For a long time, 'natural' gas has been touted as an efficient, abundant and low-carbon energy resource. However, its production is different from shale gas, which requires an enormous amount of water and pumps tons of toxic chemicals into the earth. The operation also involves leaks of methane, which has a heating effect 25 times greater than that of CO2. Still, shale gas is seen by some European companies as a new Eldorado, offering them new industrial and economic opportunities and for some Member States the potential to become energy independent and net gas exporters. Across Europe, the industry is now presenting shale gas as a 'bridge fuel'. But looking at the full impact of shale gas development clearly shows that this energy source cannot serve as a bridge to a low carbon future.
Shale gas is simply not the solution to the EU’s energy, environment and climate challenges: it will only generate more problems in the long-term and risks accelerating climate change in the coming decades. Do we really want to risk our health just to prolong (unsustainable) dependence on yet another (even dirtier), finite, fossil fuel?
The NGOs' joint statement on shale gas
The Greens/EFA's campaign video 'Let's ban fracking and shale gas' which as been made in close collaboration with Friends of the Earth Europe, Food and Water Europe and the Health & Environment Alliance.
The leaflet ‘ban fracking and shale gas in Europe’ in
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