IEA Conversations

Is fracking compatible with a fossil-free future?

June 13, 2019

Opponents of Fracking argue that it was always a bad idea, because of climate change. Cutting carbon emissions means reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. So, to develop a new gas industry is to do the opposite. Polls have consistently shown that fracking is unpopular. When three anti-fracking activists were freed from jail they were greeted with cheers. The public, says the Guardian newspaper, were ahead of the Government in realising that giving up on this industry makes sense.

But joining the IEA’s Digital Manager Darren Grimes in this week’s podcast, Natascha Engel, who recently resigned as the Government’s fracking tsar, Natascha argues that an urge to ‘do something’ about climate change will hustle politicians into bad decisions — and almost certainly make things worse. in the past, hasty policy has had us driving now-discredited diesel cars. We are felling tropical forests to make space for palm oil to provide biofuel. We are burning “renewable” wood pellets that are significantly more carbon-emitting than the coal they displaced. Now the government, in response to environmental pressure, has instituted a de facto ban on fracking.