CCC report says large-scale fracking ‘not compatible with climate change targets’

i Jul 17th No Comments by
A fracking well-site in the USA. Coming to a field near you?

A fracking well-site in the USA. Coming to a field near you?

The long-delayed report from the Committee for Climate Change (CCC) was finally published on 7th July, 99 days after it was submitted to ministers, and sneaked out in the wake of the Chilcott Report on the Iraq war.

The CCC concluded that shale gas would breach the nation’s targets for emissions cuts unless these three key tests were passed (as described on the Drill or Drop report):

  • Well development, production and decommissioning emissions must be strictly limited. Emissions must be tightly regulated and closely monitored in order to ensure rapid action to address leaks.
  • Gas consumption must remain in line with carbon budgets. UK unabated fossil energy consumption must be reduced over time within levels advised by the CCC to be consistent with the carbon budgets. This means that UK shale gas production must displace imported gas rather than increasing domestic consumption.
  • Accommodating shale gas production emissions within carbon budgets. Additional production emissions from shale gas wells will need to be offset through reductions elsewhere in the UK economy, such that the overall effort to reduce emissions is sufficient to meet carbon budgets.

A report in the New Scientist, with the headline ‘UK will struggle to meet climate target if fracking goes ahead’ says: “It’s bad news for the UK’s wannabe frackers. Those conditions are going to be very difficult to meet in practice, which means the UK government cannot allow fracking on a large scale if the country is to meet its emissions targets.”

The general tone of press articles on the report was that it was bad news for the shale gas industry, and this was continued in other papers on the day of publication. Here are a selection:

  • Fracking regulations ‘inadequate’, Government advisers warn – The Telegraph
  • Fracking threatens UK climate targets Financial Times
  • Fracking ‘will break UK climate targets unless rules are made stricter’ The Guardian
  • Large scale fracking ‘not compatible with UK Climate targets’, says CCC Yorkshire Post
  • Fracking rules must be tougher, say UK Climate Advisors Energy Live News

snake-oil-front-cover-268[1]The only two sources that appeared to give the report the thumbs up were the pro-fracking Times Newspaper – with a headline ‘Fracking gets green light from climate experts’ – and the BBC, which not for the first time took a very pro-fracking line on all its media outlets, with the headline ‘Cautious green light for fracking’ on its Online News page.

As for the Government, they did their best to spin the report in their favour, saying blithely that all conditions and regulations were already in place and they didn’t need to do anything else, and ignoring completely that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) – a requirement by the CCC for one of its conditions – is as far away as ever.

You can read what the Ecologist website thought about the government’s response, the article headline being, “Fracking not compatible with climate change targets, say CCC.”

How this will affect the Judicial Review for fracking at Kirby Misperton, for which the NYCC’s failure to assess the impact on climate change correctly is a key issue, we shall have to see.

Judicial Review sought on KM8 decision

km8 no social licence portraitOn 7th May, Friends of the Earth and members of Frack Free Ryedale applied to the High Court for a Judicial Review of the NYCC’s decision to allow Third Energy to frack at their KM8 wellsite at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale. You can read the official press release by clicking here.

The NYCC decision to allow Third Energy to frack at Kirby Misperton was made by a 7-4 vote of the Conservative-dominated Planning Committee, despite 99.2% of respondents opposing the application. Nearly 100 people gave evidence against the application, including local residents, climate change experts, businesses and ex-Ryedale MP Baroness Anne McIntosh.

For the press comment on the Judicial Review application, please see the relevant articles in the Yorkshire Post, the Guardian, the Gazette and Herald and Drill or Drop.