Shale gas ‘may contribute to EU economy’ if health and environmental risks are addressed
The European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik, has said that shale gas may play a role in the EU's future energy policy but only if health and environmental risks are addressed and minimised. In a speech to the European Economic Congress in Poland, he said the ultimate goal was to decouple demand for energy from economic growth and build a competitive, highly resource and energy-efficient low carbon economy. Read more…
The annual Congress consists of three days of debates and meetings on economic and social development, which attracts leading figures from the worlds of politics, business, science and economics. Commissioner Potočnik told participants that shale gas may contribute to a competitive, highly resource and energy-efficient low carbon economy, provided its potential in Europe was confirmed and the risks associated with its exploration and exploitation were appropriately managed. Commitments towards improving energy efficiency and further developing renewable energy sources remain a key EU priority.
Addressing health and environmental risks will be of paramount importance for the shale gas industry to gain public acceptance,” said the Commissioner. “I am not for or against shale gas. I am for using the potential of shale gas, if confirmed, in an environmentally responsible way while keeping in mind our long term objectives and supporting the policies which are leading us towards those objectives.”
The main environmental challenges of shale gas extraction are water use, water pollution, air emissions and the management of waste water. Commissioner Potočnik said the Commission was carrying out an EU-level assessment this year of the environmental, climate and energy aspects of shale gas in consultation with stakeholders. The aim is to develop a framework for safe and secure extraction, which will provide reassurance to the general public and enable the industry to operate under clear and predictable rules.
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