Despite intense lobbying by the fossil fuel industry, today's vote in European Parliament demonstrates that there is no consensus for allowing large-scale shale gas development in Europe. More than one third of MEPs—Members of Parliament—voted in support of a moratorium on fracking in the Parliament's first vote on shale gas.
Although the moratorium amendment fell short of a majority, the final version of the Parliament's reports on shale gas identified the climate, environmental and health risks associated with unconventional gas.
While it is disappointing that a majority of the Parliament did not agree that an appropriate response to the documented risks of fracking is a moratorium, the reports and moratorium vote were only the first skirmish in the long-term battle to permanently ban fracking from Europe. Food & Water Europe, together with civil society groups across Europe, will continue to work with MEPs to increase awareness of the risks and negative impacts associated with large-scale unconventional gas activities.
"The fact that one-third of MEPs, representing a diverse political spectrum, voted in favour of the moratorium, shows that there is wide spread concern about fracking. These members saw through the fossil fuel industry's smokescreen about 'sustainable fracking,'" said Food & Water Europe policy officer Geert De Cock. "These 262 MEPs recognized that forms of extreme energy like shale gas, will hinder, not facilitate, the transition to a much-needed low-carbon energy future."
Food & Water Europe will make sure that the European Commission offers a swift follow-up to the Parliament's call for an EU-wide risk management framework for unconventional fossil fuels exploration and extraction. Allowing the unconventional gas industry to be established detracts from the EU's efforts to decarbonize its economy by 2050. We will continue to inform EU decision-makers about how importing extreme energy extraction methods will do little to reduce European gas prices or improve the EU's energy security. A massive investment in shale gas will only lock Europe's energy systems into a continued reliance on fossil fuels.
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