Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

The 'Golden Rules for the Golden Age of Gas'

Climate
The 'Golden Rules for the Golden Age of Gas'

Oil Change International

By Andy Rowell

The respected chief economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, has warned that the world will become increasingly reliant on shale gas and oil from Iraq in the coming decades.

In part to help stave off the growing public backlash against shale gas, the IEA is preparing, along with a number of governments, a set of “best practices” for shale gas production which will be presented by the IEA at the end of May.

“Governments need to ensure that all companies adhere to the best standards, or they will risk a public backlash against unconventional production," Fatih Birol told the European Energy Review in an interview.

Last year the IEA produced a special report, titled: Are We Entering a Golden Age of Gas? And although Birol argues that unconventional gas has potential, its environmental impact must be addressed. To assist in this, Birol argues that the IEA has just started a new initiative that aims to define “golden rules for the golden age of gas."

The report will be what Birol calls “the Magna Carta of unconventional gas production," which will depict rules that should ensure that the global economic potential of shale gas will be “realized without harming the environment.”

“Governments need to ensure that all companies adhere to the best standards, or risk a public backlash against unconventional production," he argues. If these rules are adhered to, then the “golden age of gas” can happen, he believes.

However, there are several problems with this approach:

  • Whilst any strict environmental rules which prevent widespread water contamination must be welcomed, no one knows what the long term impact of injecting aquifers with a combination of chemicals is likely to be, even if short term water supplies are somehow preserved.

  • More importantly, as I blogged last month, due to methane leakage, shale gas may not be much better than coal when it comes to climate change.

  •  The longer we invest in the “golden age of gas” it prolongs the sunset of our fossil fuel addiction, preventing a full scale switch to a clean energy future. And as Michael Klare recently pointed out, the longer we continue our fossil fuel addiction “we will become more vulnerable over the long run." So the golden age of gas will make America more vulnerable to price hikes and shocks in the global economy.

  •  And finally the hype may not be all its cracked up to be. Take Poland, recently hyped that it would become the new Saudi Arabia of shale gas. Well yesterday, the Financial Times reported that hopes that Poland could turn into an energy exporting giant are looking fragile. The country may be sitting on Europe’s biggest shale gas deposits, but it is becoming increasingly clear that early estimates of their size were much too large. Instead of whopping reserves of some 5.3 trillion cubic metres of shale gas, local media is reporting that Poland’s reserves are closer to just 1 trillion cubic metres.

Earlier this week, Chevron also warned that shale gas projects in Europe and China are not guaranteed to succeed and may not come into first production until the next decade.

So the IEA may have golden rules, but the golden era of gas may not be that golden after all.

For more information, click here.

Project goal: To create an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to leather, in this case using fungi.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Plastic waste is bulldozed at a landfill. Needpix

The plastic recycling model was never economically viable, but oil and gas companies still touted it as a magic solution to waste, selling the American public a lie so the companies could keep pushing new plastic.

Read More Show Less

Trending

54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Maria Symchych-Navrotska / Getty Images

By Pamela Davis-Kean

With in-person instruction becoming the exception rather than the norm, 54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Initial projections from the Northwest Evaluation Association, which conducts research and creates commonly used standardized tests, suggest that these fears are well-grounded, especially for children from low-income families.

Read More Show Less
A teenager reads a school English assignment at home after her school shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 22, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images

The pandemic has affected everyone, but mental health experts warn that youth and teens are suffering disproportionately and that depression and suicide rates are increasing.

Read More Show Less
In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch