The Big Picture

Shale gas, Coalbed Methane and Fracking haven’t come from nowhere but they have crept up on us locally.

There are serious worries about the environmental impacts of unconventional gas. The impact of our energy use on the environment is profound and the environmental issues of our times – Global Warming – is an energy problem caused by burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere. We have been doing this since the start of the industrial revolution and are now at a turning point where having caused the problem we must now decarbonise our economy to prevent possibly dangerous consequences. There are also serious concerns about the local environmental impacts of unconventional gas, from noise and traffic to potential pollution of water resources and earth tremors.

As well as dealing with carbon dioxide emissions the UK energy policy also has to keep the lights on. Seeing as our energy sector is still very fossil fuel based these conflicting requirements are difficult to resolve, especially during the transition period from a high-carbon to a low-carbon economy – the period we are in now.

In short the energy policy needs to add up – locally, nationally and globally and it is about “numbers not adjectives”. We no longer live on an island, we live on a planet.

Next -> The Big Local Picture

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