Now - before you start, this is the technology that has been stopped in France and put on hold in the UK as it started some earthquakes. Mmmmm now lets see.
Tapping country's resources would use up 15 per cent of forecasted emissions and divert investment from green technologies
Exploiting just a fraction of the UK's shale gas deposits could undermine the UK's ability to meet its climate change targets, opponents of the controversial energy source will claim today.
While the UK industry is far behind its US counterparts, Cuadrilla Resources, a company drilling the UK's first test wells in Lancashire, claims to have found 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas
reserves in the UK, which could result in up to 800 wells being drilled over the next 15 years.
But a report written by scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
today warns that extracting and burning a fifth of these reserves would result in emissions of over 2,000 million tonnes of CO2 - around 15 per cent of the country's entire emissions budget through to 2050.
It also takes issue with shale gas proponents' contention that the technology offers a clean, cheap, and secure alternative to fossil fuel imports.
The report suggests up to £32bn would be needed to extract the gas and convert it to electricity, money which would be better spent on renewable energy or other emissions-cutting technologies.
It predicts that even conservative rates
of worldwide extraction and combustion would use up over a quarter of the remaining global CO2 emissions budget needed to prevent 2C of warming.
Paul Monaghan, head of social goals at The Co-operative, said the government needed to urgently re-appraise its approach to shale gas.
"Evidence is now emerging which indicates that gas derived from shale may have a significantly greater carbon footprint than previously thought, seriously questioning whether it can play any role in the transition to a low carbon economy," he said. "The calls from 'big gas' for the abandonment of renewables targets must be rebuffed, and here is the science to do just that."
A Department for Energy and Climate Change spokesman said the economic viability and environmental impact of shale gas had yet to be established and a fully-fledged industry was "years away".