BRUSSELS – As a conversation starter on the EU’s 2030 climate and energy policies, the European Commission attempts to reconcile polar opposites: The Green Paper highlights the EU as “a frontrunner in clean and more energy-efficient technologies, products and services”, while simultaneously claiming “a need to enable the future exploitation of indigenous oil and gas resources, both conventional and unconventional […]”. The Green Paper fails to explain how these two elements could co-exist. Furthermore, the European Commission buys into the current hype about shale gas in in Europe, by linking low energy prices and reduced imports to unconventional fossil fuels. Such wishful thinking completely ignores the reality that the geological knowledge in Europe about shale is in its infancy. With only a couple of dozen exploratory wells drilled across the EU, reserving a significant role for shale gas in Europe is premature.
“The Commission’s consultation asks the wrong question of how the EU can best exploit unconventional resources. Before answering how, the Commission should looked past the hype about shale gas and asked the question if shale gas could contribute to the EU’s 2030 climate and energy objectives”, said Food & Water Europe policy officer Geert De Cock. “Looking at the amount of drilling and investment that would be required to deliver a significant portion of the EU’s energy mix from shale and the absence of an adequate regulatory framework, the EU will quickly realize that it cannot frack its way to decarbonisation”.
Food & Water Europe holds that European governments are putting the cart before the horse, by allowing exploration and extraction to go ahead without a detailed analysis of the risk and negative impacts of large-scale shale gas activities. Until all the climate, environmental and health impacts are adequately addressed, we believe that no further shale gas and other unconventional gas activities should proceed. We call on all Member States to suspend all ongoing activities, to abrogate permits, and to place a ban on any new projects, whether exploration or exploitation.