Climate

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In the government’s own words: “It makes good economic sense to take action now to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions. If we delay acting on emissions, it will only mean more radical intervention in the future at greater cost.” (1) (italics ours)

This is completely at odds with a policy to go ‘all out for shale‘. Fracking produces methane (2), a greenhouse gas which is more damaging than CO2. “Although carbon dioxide is typically painted as the bad boy of greenhouse gases, methane is roughly 30 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas.” (3)

The UK government recently signed up to the Paris Agreement on Climate change. The Paris Agreement’s central aim is “to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.” (4)

The government’s own report in 2016 stated: “Our assessment is that exploiting shale gas by fracking on a significant scale is not compatible with UK climate targets unless three tests are met.” (5) (italics ours).

The three tests are:

  • Well development, production and decommissioning emissions must be strictly limited.
  • Consumption – gas consumption must remain in line with carbon budgets requirements.
  • Accommodating shale gas production emissions within carbon budgets

Far from re-assuring us that they are committed to these tests being met, Theresa May has abolished the Department for Energy and Climate Change. The issue of climate change now comes under various departments, notably the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The government’s commitment to combating climate change now looks very shaky indeed, and fracking should certainly have no part in it.

This video from New Scientist gives their view on the claim that fracking will reduce carbon emissions…….

 

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More Information

Greenpeace information on the effects of fracking on the climate can be found here.

 

 

(1) Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy. (2014).Climate Change Explained. Available: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/climate-change-explained. Last accessed 14th Oct 2016.
(2) Bobby Magill. (2016). US ‘likely culprit’ of global spike in methane emissions over last decade. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/17/us-likely-culprit-of-global-spike-in-methane-emissions-over-last-decade. Last accessed 14th Oct 2016.
(3) Princeton University. “A more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, methane emissions will leap as Earth warms.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140327111724.htm>.
(4) United Nations. (2016). The Paris Agreement. Available: http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php. Last accessed 14th Oct 2016.
(5) The Committee on Climate Change. (2016). Onshore Petroleum The compatibility of UK onshore petroleum with meeting the UK’s carbon budgets . Available: Onshore Petroleum The compatibility of UK onshore petroleum with meeting the UK’s carbon budgets. Last accessed 14th Oct 2016.

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