Shale gas not consistent with limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees, conference told

13th May 2014

Shale gas can’t be a significant part of UK energy if we want to avoid damaging climate change, a researcher in carbon emissions told an industry conference this afternoon.

John Broderick, knowledge transfer fellow at the Tyndall Centre for climate change research, told Shale Gas World: “There is a very limited time window for new fossil fuel investment to contribute to the UK energy system.”

He said to have a 60% chance of limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees – the internationally recognised limit for avoiding damaging climate change – the richer countries of the world would need a rapid decarbonisation of their energy systems by 2035.

Dr Broderick said: “Shale is not consistent with limiting temperature increase to 2 degrees”. Better priorities would be zero carbon or genuinely low carbon energy systems.

Last year the energy secretary, Ed Davey, said: “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”.

But Dr Broderick said shale would be of a relative benefit only if the coal stayed in the ground. He said the US had reduced its emissions within its territory with shale gas but this had been associated with an upswing in exports of coal and the total quantity of American emissions had continued to rise.

“Conventional fuels take us up to 2 degrees”, he said. “And any other fossil fuels take us beyond that 2 degrees.”

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