Pretending to "fight" against global warming while investing in fracking and nuclear: total nonsense!
The exploration, extraction, pollution of the local environment, disposal of waste products and by-products, transportation, and the burning of fossil fuel to generate power, all have an environmental impact that we must be aware of if we want to be able to limit the growing disastrous impacts of climate change. Furthermore, there is also a monetary impact associated with the costs of remedial action as well as clean-up costs which are often borne by public funds.
It’s is time to rethink our energy policy.
Indeed, the latest Fifth Assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showed that there is a limited global carbon budget, which means that we must leave the majority of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground if we are to limit global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
But greenhouse gases are not the only gases intensifying the impacts of climate change. Fugitive methane emissions, which are associated with shale gas extraction, have a huge potential. This is one of the reasons why the Greens have warned about the dangers of ‘fracking’ and called for a precautionary approach.
The Greens in the European Parliament have criticized the new plans for hydraulic fracturing in the UK as they will cause multiple negative environmental impacts which go beyond those of climate change. The UK Green Party Members of the European Parliament (Jean Lambert MEP, Green MEP for London, Keith Taylor MEP, Green MEP for South East England, Molly Scott Cato, MEP for South West England) have made a submission to the Environmental Audit Committee in the framework of a UK government consultation. They underline once more that Shale gas and this extraction technique pose serious risks for water supplies, water and air quality, habitats and biodiversity and have disastrous chemicals and geological impacts. Moreover, all these areas relate to important environmental obligations the UK has under EU law, and must therefore be preserved.
The UK Government - which has often proclaimed itself to be a leading country in the fight against climate change - can’t play it both ways: It must take its full responsibility to reduce the UK's carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions by agreeing and delivering on ambitious climate change and renewable energy obligations but also encourage the rest of the EU Members States to do the same. However, just recently the UK government published a non-paper on a European Energy Union, calling for a future Energy Union which would allow the country to develop its pro-nuclear, pro-shale gas and pro-CCS agenda. The words "shale gas" appear nine times in eight pages, in three of the five pillars of the energy union.
Shale gas will not help meet the country’s climate and energy objectives. UK shale gas production is not needed to reduce or end coal use, nor will it deliver that. Instead it will distract from a much-needed increased commitment to renewable energy, which is the only energy source that can help us decrease our emissions in a safe way while protecting our environment as well as our health. These concerns, as well as the human rights aspects, have been developed in the recently published report of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation
In 2015 it is high time that the EU members massively invest in the energy of the future instead of supporting the dirty energy of the past centuries which have been proven many times to accelerate global warming!
The Greens therefore encourage the UK government to rethink its policy fundamentally and turn away from fracking, as demanded by the majority of its citizens and also strongly advised by the scientific community.
Not sure about the risks related to shale gas and fracking? Watch our short video that explains it all.