MYTH #8: DEBUNKED “Fracking is a bridge fuel to a low-carbon economy.”

You can see the link here http://frackfreeryedale.org/myth8bridgefuel/

 

There is no doubt that the world needs to move away from fossil fuels in the long term. The prime way to reduce our carbon emissions is to stop using coal. The UK is phasing out coal by 2025. However, supposedly ‘green’ countries like Germany are moving away from nuclear and shale gas, and the result is a massive increase in the dirtiest coal of all, lignite. The strip mining that accompanies this wrecks the environment, as well as the atmosphere.

 

One thing is for certain, we will be using gas from somewhere for several decades. Over 80% of homes are heated with gas, and it’s one of the main backup fuels for electricity, especially for unreliable sources such as solar and wind. Responsibly produced it has around half the carbon footprint of other coal. Biogas is a possible solution but would never fulfill the UKs needs. How many trucks would be needed to transport all the waste for a significant amount of production?

 

Gas is also the main feedstock for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries that employ 1 million people and are worth £50 billion to the UK economy.

 

The questions isnt whether we will be using gas, it is where will we get the gas from?

 

Professors McKay and Stone looked at this for the Govt in 2013,  and they concluded that the lowest GHG equivalent method is to extract our own. They also made 8 recommendations that have advised regulators.

These include commitments to

  • pursue a detailed scientific research programme to monitor emissions relating to shale gas exploration and production, to increase the evidence base and inform regulatory monitoring

  • require shale firms to use the best technologies available to capture emissions from operations and

  • research with industry new techniques to minimise GHG emissions, water demand and vehicle movements

There is an energy impact of importing gas from Qatar, or the US, in liquefying the gas, and in transporting it. Long pipelines from Russia and the Middle East increase the leakage rates.

Any comments about transmission losses are rather irrelevant as we have a well established gas grid that FFR seem to have forgotten about.

 

To get the lowest GHG emissions, UK shale gas is the way to go!

 

That is why Climate change gurus, contributors to the Climate Change Act 2008 and environmental campaigners, Stephen Tindale and Baroness Bryony Worthington have come out in favour of shale gas. See Stephen’s comments here, and an article about Baroness Worthington here.

 

Methane

Much of the FFR article concerns methane emissions.

Groups like FFR love to quote 10% methane leakage figures, but this figure is only supported by a single study that has been heavily criticised. (This study was financed by an anti frack organisation and written by 2 well known ‘anti’ authors BTW!)

As usual, evidence is based on poor US practice where drillers in some areas

  • Vent methane to the atmosphere (not permitted in the UK. See this link)

  • Produce fracked oil and flare excess gas to the atmosphere (This will not be permitted in the UK)

  • Flow fluids back into open pits where dissolved gases can escape. (Not permitted in the UK. See this link Page 4). UK regulations require a closed system where all fugitive gases are contained.

 

Recently concern was raised about methane being detected above the US, and this was blamed on fracking. However this study made it clear that the source of methane was mainly farming.

 

As usual Frack Free Ryedale have ignored the extensive consultation and good science done to mitigate genuine concerns about greenhouse gas emissions. Instead they have relied on bad practice from the US to raise scare stories that do not apply in the UK. .

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