Fracker says UK energy policy unachievable and gas is a 100-year bridge fuel

UK government policy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions is unachievable, according to a leading figure in the fracking industry.

Chris Faulkner, the CEO of Texas-based Breitling Energy, said the UK would breach the targets in the Climate Act, which requires major cuts in emissions by 2050.

Known in the US media as the Frackmaster, Faulkner also predicted the UK would be using gas as an energy source for 100 years.

Faulkner, named Oil and Gas Industry Leader of the Year in 2013, said UK emissions legislation was unworkable. In an interview with he said:

“You guys can’t make the Climate Act work by 2035. You can’t make it work by 2100. It’s not going to happen.

“So I think natural gas is the bridge fuel, for at least the next 100 years.”

He rejected evidence that most known fossil fuels must stay in the ground. “I don’t believe that. I do not,” he said.

“You have an obligation to explore for natural resources beneath your feet. If you don’t explore that I think it is disgrace to the United Kingdom”

“All forms of energy have got to be explored and produced. I absolutely believe that.”

The UK Climate Act, passed in 2008, requires a cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 of 80%, compared with 1990 levels. It also requires the Government to set a legally-binding cap on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in the UK. The Department of Energy and Climate Change declined to respond to Mr Faulkner’s comments, which come as a series of reports question the long-term role of gas.

Gas as bridge fuel is “strictly time-limited”

The UK Energy Research Centre, a consortium of academics and universities, said without carbon capture and storage, global gas consumption had to peak by 2025 and then decline rapidly.

The International Energy Agency also called for urgent action to cut global emissions from fossil fuels.

Also this week, the Overseas Development Institute reported that G20 nations were spending almost £56bn a year subsidising the search for more oil, gas and coal. This is despite evidence that two-thirds of existing reserves must be left in the ground if dangerous climate change is to be avoided.

The UKERC and IEA reports are based on the conclusion of the International Panel on Climate Change that global temperature rise must be limited to 2 degrees C to prevent the most serious effects of climate change.

The UKERC said the use of gas as a bridge fuel in the transition to a low-carbon energy system was “strictly time-limited”. And it said the jury was still out on whether shale gas would have an important role in the transition. More research was needed.

Instead of banking on shale, UKERC recommended rapidly expanding investment in alternative low-carbon energy sources and investing in more gas storage. The report said this would help protect consumers against short-term supply disruption and price rises.

A spokesperson for Greenpeace, which called last week for emissions to start to fall from next year, described shale gas as a bridge to nowhere.

“Meeting the two degree target, the 2050 targets, (or indeed any target that gives us a fighting chance of preserving human civilisation as we know it), is impossible if fossil fuel companies are allowed to implement their long-term business plans. They are completely incompatible, and achieving both is genuinely impossible. But Greenpeace would recommend ditching the business plans before giving up on humanity.

“As for shale gas, all the evidence points to it being a bridge to nowhere. The most authoritative study into the climate impact of fracking found that an unrestrained shale boom will only increase carbon emissions by up to 10 per cent. This is a reminder, if it was needed, that digging up more of the fossil fuels is no way to tackle climate change.”

Faulkner responds to ASA censure

Breitling Energy was censured by the Advertising Standards Authority in September for claims it made about shale gas in an advert, signed by Chris Faulkner. In the interview with he accuses the ASA of bias, pursuing its own agenda and failing to be a third party. Read more of his reaction

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