Quantcast

Will Germany Ban Fracking?

Energy

German Ministers laid out plans to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for shale gas on Friday, although anti-fracking campaigners believe plans for the new law should go much further.

Image credit: Gasland movie

In a press briefing, the Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks announced that the government will begin drawing up legislation on the issue and have it approved in the final half of this year, with a review taking place in 2021, saying: “There won’t be fracking of shale-gas and coal gas for economic reasons in the foreseeable future.”

However, the proposed new law doesn’t go far enough for many opponents, due to a number of exceptions which allow fracking under specific circumstances. For example, the proposed ban applies to “unconventional” fracking taking place more than 3,000 meters below the surface but will still allow “conventional” fracking below 3,000 meters to take place.

A not-so-unlikely coalition of beer brewers and greens have been piling pressure on the German government to ban fracking. Whilst Germany’s beer-makers are worried about the potential for water contamination, there has been growing mainstream concern over the health, climate and environmental implications of using fracking to unlock the estimated shale gas reserves of between 1.7 and 2.7 trillion cubic tons.

German brewers concerned over water contamination have rallied behind calls for fracking ban. Photo credit: Creative Commons

“Fracking must be banned in Germany without any exceptions” Hubertus Zdebel, a Left party member of the German parliament’s committee for environment, conservation, construction and reactor safety.

According to estimates from the Federal Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources, the planned restrictions would still allow the exploitation of half of all unconventional gas deposits in Germany, Zdebel said.

So whilst a seven-year fracking ban sounds positive in principle, it seems there is still much room for improvement and developments will need to be monitored closely.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Matt Cardy / Stringer / Getty Images

The Guardian is changing the way it writes about environmental issues.

Read More Show Less
Blueberry yogurt bark. SEE D JAN / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Having nutritious snacks to eat during the workday can help you stay energized and productive.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A 2017 flood in Elk Grove, California. Florence Low / California Department of Water Resources

By Tara Lohan

It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.

Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.

Read More Show Less
Jennifer A. Smith / Moment / Getty Images

By Brenda Ekwurzel

When temperatures hit the 80s Fahrenheit in May above latitude 40, sun-seekers hit the parks, lakes, and beaches, and thoughts turn to summer. By contrast, when temperatures lurk in the drizzly 40s and 50s well into flower season, northerners get impatient for summer. But when those 80-degree temperatures visit latitude 64 in Russia, as they just did, and when sleet disrupts Mother's Day weekend in May in Massachusetts, as it just did, thoughts turn to: what is going on here?

Read More Show Less
Shrimp fishing along the coast of Nayarit, Mexico. Tomas Castelazo / Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

By Paula Ezcurra and Octavio Aburto

Thousands of hydroelectric dams are under construction around the world, mainly in developing countries. These enormous structures are one of the world's largest sources of renewable energy, but they also cause environmental problems.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Activists in North Dakota confront pipeline construction activities. A Texas bill would impose steep penalties for such protests. Speak Freely / ACLU

By Eoin Higgins

A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.

Read More Show Less
An Australian flag flutters in the wind in a dry drought-ridden landscape. Virginia Star / Moment / Getty Images

Australia re-elected its conservative governing Liberal-National coalition Saturday, despite the fact that it has refused to cut down significantly on greenhouse gas emissions or coal during its time in power, The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Tree lined street, UK. Richard Newstead / Moment / Getty Images

The UK government will fund the planting of more than 130,000 trees in English towns and cities in the next two years as part of its efforts to fight climate change, The Guardian reported Sunday.

Read More Show Less