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EU leaders pursue fracking despite widespread opposition

EU leaders pursue fracking

EU leaders are ignoring calls from their citizens as they pursue a shale gas ‘revolution’. Creative Commons: Kristian Ngoh, 2013

Despite widespread opposition to fracking, European government’s including the UK, Germany and Denmark continue to choose a shale gas future. In the UK this week, former head of the Environment Agency ignored data showing fracking will not be a game-changer for Scotland, calling for fracking to be allowed in national parks. Meanwhile London Mayor Boris Johnson urged a change of law to give property owners “mineral rights” in order to buy their support for this controversial process – leaving him butting heads with Environment Minister Michael Fallon. Meanwhile reports coming from Germany warn the government could be looking to rush through a law regulating fracking, potentially ending an effective moratorium on the practice in Europe’s largest economy. However, the law will not allow “today’s fracking technology” as deployed in the US. And in Denmark, the northern municipality of Frederikshavn voted yes to letting French energy company Total explore whether there is shale gas in the area – the first time a drilling licence for shale has been approved in the country. This flies in the face of widespread and growing opposition across Europe, over the potential health impactswater contaminationmethane leakage and the threat of earthquakes as a result of fracking. Pursuing dirty fossil fuels ignores the risk of potentially devastating impacts of hotter temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and rising sea levels for Europe. Shale gas is a fossil fuel, and with new research further highlighting the level of methane leakages in the US, one that could be even more polluting than dirty coal. Continuing to burn fossil fuels, could have devastating consequences for Europe, with new research showing the EU economy could be €190 billion smaller at the end of the century if nothing is done to tackle climate change. A shale gas revolution is not a solution to the EU’s energy, climate and competitiveness challenges; energy efficiency and renewables are. As EU leaders continue to thrash out potential climate and energy targets to 2030, a host of new research shows that shifting from dirty energy to renewables will reduce the bloc’s dependence on energy importsdrive economic recovery, save citizens money and help Europe meet its climate change targets. With widespread opposition to shale, and calls from some EU leadersprogressive businesses and green campaigners for a strong decarbonisation strategy, governments continuing to choose dirty energy are being increasingly left out in the cold.

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