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Read my report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation
on The Shale Gas Shock here.
The foreword is by Freeman Dyson.
This is the summary
Shale gas is proving to be an abundant new
source of energy in the United States. Because it is globally
ubiquitous and can probably be produced both cheaply and close to
major markets, it promises to stabilise and lower gas prices
relative to oil prices. This could happen even if, in investment
terms, a speculative bubble may have formed in the rush to drill
for shale gas in North America. Abundant and low-cost shale gas
probably will - where politics allows - cause gas to take or defend
market share from coal, nuclear and renewables in the electricity
generating market, and from oil in the transport market, over
coming decades. It will also keep the price of nitrogen fertiliser
low and hence keep food prices down, other things being equal.
None the less, shale gas faces a formidable
host of enemies in the coal, nuclear, renewable and environmental
industries - all keen, it seems, to strangle it at birth,
especially in Europe. It undoubtedly carries environmental risks,
which may be exploited to generate sufficient public concern to
prevent its expansion in much of western Europe and parts of North
America, even though the evidence suggests that these hazards are
much smaller than in competing industries.
Elsewhere, though, increased production of
shale gas looks inevitable. A surge in gas production and use may
prove to be both the cheapest and most effective way to hasten the
decarbonisation of the world economy, given the cost and land
requirements of most renewables.