Sir David King: fracking could have ‘enormous environmental consequences’



Former chief scientific adviser to the government Sir David King has said shale gas will not be a major player in the future compared to nuclear and renewables, but could instead have a worrying impact on the environment.

King, the UK’s climate change envoy and a strong supporter of nuclear power, has said the government is wrong in assuming that fracking will lead to an energy revolution as it did in the US.

He told the Guardian, It will not be a game-changer here as it has been in the US. You will not be able to do that and there would be enormous environmental consequences.”

He added that gas in the future will only serve as back-up service in power generation, but will be put aside in favour of nuclear and renewable energy.

King was chief scientific adviser under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown but left the position in 2007. He played a crucial role in raising awareness on climate change as a political issue, claiming, “Climate change is the most severe problem we are facing today – more serious even than the threat of terrorism.

The government’s opinion stands in favour of fracking, as prime minister David Cameron said that shale gas would help keep energy bills down. Senior economist Lord Stern defined such claims as “baseless economics”.

Last week, energy secretary Ed Davey said that shale gas can be used effectively as a transition fuel and that its extraction does not necessary clash with UK’s climate targets.

Meanwhile, anti-fracking protesters at drilling site in Balcombe, West Sussex, have gained the permission to keep campaigning after the county council tried to evict them. Campaigners can stay at the site until October 8, when the case will be adjourned.

Further reading:

Ed Davey: fracking can support ‘wider environmental aims’ if done properly

Claims that fracking will lower energy bills is ‘baseless economics’, says Lord Stern

David Cameron: failing to capitalise on fracking would be ‘big mistake’ for UK

Anti-fracking campaigners plan 28 day blockade at Balcombe site

Fracking firms warned over risks after report suggests it could reduce bills


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