FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cape Town, South Africa, February 25, 2011
Shale gas ‘could be as bad as coal’
Using shale gas to generate electricity will not hold any benefit in limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
In fact, it may boost South Africa’s emissions to unacceptably high levels.
This is according to Climate Change Programme Manager at WWF-SA, Richard Worthington.
He was responding to Energy Minister Dipuo Peter’s hopeful remarks at a Parliamentary press briefing on Thursday 24 February, where she pleaded a case for exploring for shale gas, saying it was informed by a need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
‘From the early studies we have seen, there is no climate change advantage at all to using shale gas for electricity generation. The fugitive emissions of methane from fracking, as well as the massive fossil-fuel burning infrastructure needed to support it may have the opposite effect.
‘The studies indicate that the lifecycle of shale gas mining and burning would generate as much greenhouse gas as petroleum. It may even be as bad as coal.’
Minister Peters was further quoted as saying:
‘Because if we don't use that gas for whatever purposes that we would want to use it for, it will be released into the atmosphere and it will also create another particular challenge.’
This is completely incorrect, noted Worthington.
Shale gas methane is safeguarded in deep geological formations thousands of metres underground below impermeable layers of rock.
‘There is no way it can escape without human intervention.’
‘There are many more sustainable ways to create energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs than by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for methane,’ added Jonathan Deal, founder of Treasure the Karoo Action Group.
‘Fracking has the potential to cost far more jobs than it creates. It could contaminate crucial water and food resources. We worry about who is advising the Minister, because she is being made to look ignorant and ill-informed about the issues around fracking.’
‘We would also like to draw attention to the fact, verifiable by scientists, that the exploration process itself carries enormously high risks to the Karoo’s water sources. It’s not just a couple of men with prospecting tools wandering about in the veld. Tons of toxic chemicals would be injected underground during trial fracking’.
‘On the other hand we are encouraged that the Minister has committed Government to an environmental impact assessment, and adherence to the National Environmental Management Act.’ concluded Deal.
· About TKAG – Treasure the Karoo Action group has emerged as the co-ordinating body, representative of a broad range of stakeholders who are concerned with the plans of Oil and Mining companies to extract shale gas from the Karoo basin. Popular support can be followed and joined on Facebook and at the web address www.treasurethekaroo.blogspot.com