Shale gas has no place in a post-fossil EU.
Joint Press Statement by MEP Sabine Wils (GUE), Corinne Lepage (ALDE):
Brussels Tuesdays (May 26) event in the European Parliament Dirty gas in Europe: How fracking for shale gas is not a solution for the EUs low-carbon energy needs demonstrated the myriad environmental, health and climate impacts of large-scale shale gas extraction in Europe and elsewhere. MEPs Sabine Wils and Corinne Lepage, in cooperation with the consumer advocacy organization Food & Water Europe, organized the event to ensure that the own-initiative reports on shale gas in the Industry and Environment committees of the European Parliament give due consideration to the negative consequences of large-scale use of hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas in the EU.
The presentations during this event made clear that there is no such thing as sustainable fracking, stated MEP Sabine Wils: The carbon, water and landscape footprint of massive shale gas development in a densely populated continent like Europe does not make sense. Thousands of shale gas wells, spread around Europe, risk contaminating aquifers, which supply our drinking water. In addition, the competition between the shale gas industry and other water users like households, farmers and industry will greatly increase in regions, where the shale gas is allowed to establish itself. Last but not least, it remains unclear how regulators and industry will handle the millions of liters of hazardous waste water from shale gas operations.
Developing shale gas in the EU is incompatible with the EUs political commitment to almost completely decarbonise its energy supply by 2050. Latest peer-reviewed scientific evidence show that the carbon footprint of shale gas due to the fugitive methane emissions in the extraction process is worse than coal in a 20 year timeframe, i.e. the short window of opportunity that remains to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, added Corinne Lepage, Apart from its carbon footprint, massive shale gas activities also reduce the impetus to aggressively invest in renewables and energy efficiency, thereby risking to make shale gas and other unconventional gas sources a destination, rather than a transition fuel.
The dubious benefits and poor environmental record of shale gas development in the U.S. serve as a cautionary tale for Europe, said Wenonah Hauter. The contents of the reports on shale gas, currently debated in the Parliament should seriously consider banning the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the EU because of the high risks involved.
MEPs Sabine Wils and Corinne Lepage are respectively the shadow rapporteurs for the GUE and ALDE group on the Parliaments own-initiative report on the environmental impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction activities, drafted by MEP Sonik of the EPP group.
The presentations of Professor Ingraffea of Cornell University and Wenonah Hauter of Food & Water Europe are available on the following website:
Food & Water Europe works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.