Cameron urges Britain to join the shale gas revolution

Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed his intentions to pursue the potential of shale gas in the UK claiming the technology could be "transformative".

Defending the Government’s environmental agenda during the questioning from senior MPs yesterday at the Liaison Committee at the Houses of Parliament, Cameron insisted it had introduced “a very progressive set of green policies”.

He pointed out that the Government had been the first to produce a green paper on the natural environment.

He also claims that the government was on course to meet its carbon reduction and renewable energy targets but insisted that controversial fracking for shale gas should go ahead in Britain.

“It may be that this gas revolution is really quite transformative and there is going to be a lot more gas and the price won’t be as expensive.

“That may be true, that may not be true. We just don’t know. But I think it would be a big risk just to ignore what is happening in the gas market,” he argued.

Cameron added: “We should have an open mind and we should take part in fracking and unconventional gas because this might be a revolution that we should be involved in.

“If we ignored it completely, you could be giving your economy much higher energy prices than is necessary.”

He pointed to the US’s success in unconventional gas, claiming it was providing the nation with low energy costs and simultaneously helping it to reduce carbon emissions.

However, green campaigners have reacted furiously to the Prime Minister’s comments describing them as “worryingly out of touch with the latest scientific evidence.”

Chief concerns are that fracking could cause significant environmental impacts from induced seismicity, the degradation of landscape, water contamination and the release of methane emissions.  

Friends of the Earth’s (FOE) executive director Andy Atkins said: “He clung doggedly to his green rhetoric, but gave little reassurance that he is set to breathe new life into the Government’s rapidly deflating environmental credentials.

“A fossil fuelled energy strategy risks massive fuel bill hikes and threatens to blow a gaping hole in UK climate targets, to which the PM claims he remains committed.”

FOE also condemned Cameron for failing to set a target for decarbonising the power sector by 2030,  his appointment to key positions of a number of MPs, who appear to have an anti-green agenda, and his refusal to allow the Green Investment Bank to borrow money.

Conor McGlone

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