Is hydro-fracked gas the UK’s new North Sea?

Last week, protestors shut down a hydrofracking site in northern England.  This week, the government makes the case for fracking (carefully) in the UK. As this speech demonstrates, the Brits are struggling to balance the costs and benefits of shale exploration, just as we are …  as I detail in my new book “HYDROFRACKING; WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW,” available in Nov.
The Myths and Realities of Shale Gas Exploration 
Speech by Edward Davey, Secretary of State, for Energy and Climate Change on shale gas exploration. Originally given at The Royal Society, London.
The debate on shale gas
There has been quite a debate on the future of shale gas this summer.
And if you took at face value some of the claims made about fracking, such has been the
exaggeration and misunderstanding, you would be forgiven for thinking that it represents
a great evil;
One of the gravest threats that has ever existed to the environment, to the health of our
children and to the future of the planet.
On the other side of the coin, you could have been led to believe that shale gas is the sole
answer to all our energy problems;
That we can turn our backs on developing renewables and nuclear, safe in the knowledge
that shale gas will meet all our energy needs.
Both of these positions are just plain wrong.
I understand the concerns people have that shale gas extraction could be taken forward
irresponsibly and without proper protections.
And I stand shoulder to shoulder with those who want to tackle climate change;
Just as I stand shoulder to shoulder with those who want to keep our homes warm and our
businesses powered at a price people can afford.
But our society is ill served when we allow myths to proliferate or when we allow debates
to be hijacked by zealots or vested interests.
So, today, I want to make the calm, rational, objective case for shale gas exploration in
the UK in the light of the three equal and overarching objectives I have as Secretary of
State for Energy and Climate Change.
First, powering the country – keeping the lights on – planning properly to meet our future
energy needs.
Second, protecting the planet – cutting carbon emissions and preserving our environment
– being responsible guardians of our children’s inheritance.
And third – making sure the whole of society benefits from the exploitation of energy
resources – revenues, growth and jobs – and, of course, affordable bills.
My message to you today is this:
UK shale gas can be developed sensibly and safely, protecting the local environment,
with the right regulation.
And we can meet our wider climate change targets at the same time, with the right
policies in place.
Gas, as the cleanest fossil fuel, is part of the answer to climate change, as a bridge in our
transition to a green future, especially in our move away from coal.
Gas will buy us the time we need over the coming decades to get enough low carbon
technology up and running so we can power the country and keep cutting emissions.
We have to face it: North Sea gas production is falling and we are become increasingly
reliant on gas imports.
So UK shale gas could increase our energy security by cutting those imports.
Home-grown gas, just like home-grown renewables and new nuclear, also provides jobs
for our people and tax revenues for our society.
Taking all this together shale gas could have significant benefits.
But – let me be equally clear – shale gas is no quick fix and no silver bullet.
For the speech, see: