Shale gas production will not be consistent with the UK’s climate targets unless there are tougher regulations in place.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) believes large-scale fracking could only go ahead if three key tests are met to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
They are as follows:
Test 1: Emissions must be tightly regulated and closely monitored during well development, production and decommissioning in order to ensure rapid action to address leaks.
Test 2: Unabated fossil fuel usage must be reduced over time within levels previously advised to be consistent with carbon budgets. This means shale gas production must displace imported gas rather than increasing domestic consumption.
Test 3: Additional production emissions from shale gas wells will need to be offset through reductions elsewhere in the UK economy.
Chair Lord Deben said: “We have concluded that exploitation of shale gas on a significant scale would not be consistent with UK carbon budgets and the 2050 target unless three tests are met.
“If those conditions are met, then shale gas could make a useful contribution to UK energy supplies, including providing some energy security benefits.”
A government spokesperson told ELN no regulatory action will be taken in response to the report as DECC believes rules are already in place and are consistent with climate change targets.
Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom added: “Shale gas is a fantastic opportunity which could create thousands of jobs across the country and a secure home grown energy source that we can rely on for decades to come.
“We’ve already put measures in place to limit and monitor emissions that meet the conditions set out in this report so we can continue to tackle climate change and take advantage of the benefits this new industry could provide.”
Environmental campaigners have launched legal action against North Yorkshire County Council’s decision to approve Third Energy’s fracking plans.