Just days after the UN climate change conference closed in Qatar, Energy and Climate Secretary Ed Davey has given government approval to fracking for natural gas in the UK. A ban prohibiting the company Caudrilla from pursuing its fracking explorations following two minor earthquakes in Lancashire last year has been lifted with the promise that a suite of new mechanisms are in place to keep the process safe. Shale gas is thought to be the least polluting of all fossil fuels and the government hopes its exploration plans will free the UK from foreign imports. Environmentalists are of course opposed to the plan.

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“Shale gas represents a promising new potential energy resource for the UK,” Ed Davey said, The Guardian reports. “It could contribute significantly to our energy security, reducing our reliance on imported gas, as we move to a low-carbon economy. My decision is based on the evidence. It comes after detailed study of the latest scientific research available and advice from leading experts in the field.”

Davey also said that strict controls have been put in place to ensure that fracking, which involves injecting water and chemicals deep underground to fracture rock that then releases natural gas, will not cause any further seismic disturbances. But critics claim that the government is overlooking the embedded carbon footprint associated with fracking.

The Committee on Climate Change also warned that “a gas-focused energy strategy would see average household bills of £1,300 today rise by £600 in coming decades, rather than rising by £100 if the UK concentrated on renewable energy,” according to The Guardian.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace’s energy campaigner Leila Deen mocked the government’s plan to “turn Lanchashire into Dallas,” a strategy that will have negative impacts on both the earth and people.

Via The Guardian

Image of Wyoming Gas Drill, Frack Off Protest in New Zealand, Shutterstock