BusinessEurope Calls For Shale Gas To Enhance Energy Security

  • Date: 13/03/14
  • EurActiv

Markus Beyrer, the secretary general of BusinessEurope, is calling on EU leaders and stakeholders to be “less emotional” about the exploration and extraction of shale gas in Europe to ensure the continent’s energy independence.

“We think that we have to balance climate policy but also cost competitiveness and security of supply. And of course recently the issue of security of supply has been added an extra element of external dependence,” he told EurActiv in an interview referring to the growing conflict between Moscow and Kyiv.

“Of course energy efficiency and renewables will play a role in this. But talking about the quantities, this will not be enough, so this means we will have to have a more rational, less emotional debate on other possibilities, starting with indigenous resources, including shale gas.”

In Beyrer’s view, there are not enough scientific facts to back up the almost “dogmatic” opposition to unconventional fuels, such as shale.

“I would say that 90% of the arguments you normally hear are far away from the reality,” he said, arguing that excluding the option a priori is not a solution. Rather, the chief of the European business organisation proposes to “control the risks”.

“This is the stop of any progress. It’s not about excluding all risks ex-ante, it’s about controlling risks and we think there is a clear possibility to control risks but in order to go forward we at least need to explore.”

“And we think lots of the debates we’re having starting with these things with methane coming from water taps – all this has nothing to do with reality. There are a number of questions you have to settle on water purification, on seals, but we have to go forward, to explore and then find solutions to the problems,” he added.

Beyrer’s views about shale gas angered Antoine Simon, a shale gas campaigner at Friends of the Earth, who rebutted those arguments.

“It seems like BusinessEurope is the only one to find this problem minor. Even the European Commission published a report last year on the environmental impact assessing the underground and surface contamination risks at its highest level of dangerousness. There are countless numbers of studies, from Stanford University, Duke University, MIT,” Simon stressed, adding “we are talking about major risks and this can be done only if it develops on huge amounts of land”.

>>Read the full interview with Markus Beyrer here.

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