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Matt Ridley is the author of provocative books on evolution, genetics and society. His books have sold over a million copies, been translated into thirty languages, and have won several awards.

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More on shale gas

The environmental cost of NOT using a new fuel

There is a big new report on shale gas from the No Hot Air website. It is far too expensive for me, but here is a summary of what it supposedly concludes:

The key issue going forward for natural gas is not managing supply, but creating demand.

The US success in shale gas technology can be replicated in multiple locations world-wide.

Environmental issues surrounding water use, hydro-fracturing, well spacing and disruption to communities are more often the product of fear and myth, not present and future reality.

Natural gas can provide currently viable, scalable, affordable and significant but partial decarbonization of the electric generation sector.

We must be realistic: Other technologies aim for a full decarbonization at some point several decades away.  Is it wise to bet on technology today for 2050?

The greater environmental risks are likely to be those associated with not developing shale resources.

Similarly, the greater economic risks of shale increasingly appear those associated with NOT developing shale resources.

Shale gas has the potential to reduce energy costs during a time when global stimulus is again becoming necessary.

Lower energy costs reach consumers and industry far quicker than tax or regulatory changes can.

Europe in general and the UK in particular risk being marginalized as China and India embrace shale gas potential as other nations deny it.

Green issues are more likely to be raised in Europe not by environmentalists, but by those funded by the nuclear, Coal Carbon Capture and Storage, gas storage and large scale pipeline project industries.