In the UK, shale gas has received a boost from David Cameron, who vowed to go all out for shale by offering taxpayer-funded giveaways to companies. But the news that such a move will not cut overall emissions takes away a key plank in the arguments put forward by shale companies.
BP predicts that global emissions will rise 29% by 2035. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that emissions must peak by 2020 to give the world a chance to avoid a further two degrees of warming, beyond which the effects of climate change become catastrophic and irreversible.
Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth energy campaigner, said: “The case for shale gas is crumbling. Experts say it won’t lead to cheaper fuel bills, and now BP says it won’t cut carbon emissions either.
“Follow the PM’s logic and we’d be punching thousands of holes in our countryside only to further add to climate change and continue with sky-high bills.
“Instead of going all out for shale, the prime minister should focus on the real answers to the energy challenges we face: energy efficiency and renewable power.”
Meanwhile, analysts at the City firm Brewin Dolphin also poured scorn on Cameron and George Osborne for over-hyping the potential impact of shale in Britain. “We believe the shale industry is unlikely to produce commercial volumes of gas until the end of this decade and that it is unlikely to have a meaningful impact on gas prices,” said a report drawn up by Elaine Coverley, head of equity research, and Iain Armstrong, oil and gas equity analyst at the investment house.
“This is due to two reasons; first, commercially available volumes are likely to be significantly lower in the UK than in the US, and second, if UK shale is successful, exploration companies could export the gas to achieve higher prices,” they argue.
Their comments came as a new opinion poll for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) found that 47% of people would be unhappy for a gas well site using fracking to open within 10 miles of their home, compared with just 14% who said they would be happy.
Some might wonder how the 29% rise in greenhouse gases might be explained. We might witness this currently in the Arctic where methane emissions have risen substantially.
Robert Scribbler explains: We have seen the large and growing escape of methane in the great 1 kilometer plumes in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf and in other large releases off of Svalbard. We have seen them in the 150 kilometer atmospheric plumes observed by NASA’s CARVE study. We have seen them in ‘hot’ melt lakes that bubble with methane dense enough to burn. We have seen them in the explosive Arctic fires that burn the thawing and volatile land itself.
These all-too-obvious hints of steadily increasing emissions are ominous, not only for their current warming contribution, but for the potential of an even more rapid and violent release.
We have a planetary emergency and we need to act today, in order to avert catastrophic – civilization threatening climate changes.
Fracking opponents are being irrational, says David Cameron “There are some people who are opposing shale because they simply can’t bear the thought of another carbon-based fuel being used in our energy mix. I think that is irrational because it’s surely better for us to be extracting shale safely from our country rather than paying a large price for it being imported from around the world.
“I think why some people are so religiously opposed to it is because they just don’t want to see any carbon-based energy work, but I don’t think that’s helpful.”
Electricity demand has reached record levels prompting blackouts in some areas. Ten thousand homes lost power in Melbourne on Wednesday afternoon and the government in Victoria has warned that 100,000 properties may face power cuts in the next two days.
Teaser photo source (Wikipedia)