UK Committe On Climate Change Approves Fracking, But With Strings Attached


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Craig Boudreau Vice Reporter
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The U.K.’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has given approval for hydraulic fracturing operations, as long as operators meet three key parameters. The proposal just needs a final vote for full clearance.

The stipulations from the CCC include strictly limiting greenhouse gas emissions during shale gas development, production and decommissioning; gas consumption must be in-line with U.K. carbon budgets; and emissions from shale gas production must be counted towards the carbon budget.

“The CCC accepts that the government plans are mostly on track but wants more detail,” Professor Jim Skea, a member of the CCC, told The BBC Thursday. “Our recommendation is to monitor what government does because we are making the assumption that we have a very well regulated industry and we need some details filled in on that.”

Some environmental groups have taken issue with the approval by the CCC.

“The idea that fracking can be squared with the UK’s climate targets is based on a tower of assumptions, caveats, and conditions on which there is zero certainty of delivery,” Dr. Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace, told The BBC Thursday.

Others claim the introduction of fracking means the U.K. will be unable to meet its climate change targets. To that end, the National Grid, which operates the country’s electric grid, reported the U.K. is already ‘almost certain’ to miss its 2020 climate change goal of achieving 15% of energy from renewable resources.

The CCC projects, with minimal regulation, fracking would introduce 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year into the atmosphere.

That’s a drop in the bucket. The U.K. emitted roughly 600 million tonnes of CO2 in 2014, according to a report filed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, making the worst case scenario of 11 million tonnes seem paltry by comparison.

“This is more or less loose change when it comes to the carbon budgets,” an expert told The BBC Thursday. “It’s likely that the local effects like lorry disturbance will prove a more significant issue.”

According to The BBC, the final decision will be made by the U.K. government on October 6.

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