As world climate talks open in Peru today, new
research shows how fracking is likely to further accelerate climate change,
destroy water sources and infringe on communities' rights worldwide unless
urgent action is taken to stop the 'dash-for-gas'.
The report, from Friends of the Earth Europe, maps the expansion of the
shale gas industry outside Europe and North America with examples of 11 key
countries on three continents. It finds that multinational oil and gas
companies such as Total, Shell and Chevron are moving into increasingly
vulnerable countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia where the ecosystems,
communities and authorities are even less unable to cope with the impacts of
Countries such as Mexico, China, Argentina and South Africa, are in
earthquake-prone or water-scarce regions and are most exposed to the impacts of
climate change. The pursuit of fracking in these countries is likely to
exacerbate the climate, environment, social and human rights problems they
Friends of the Earth Europe is calling on the EU and other developed country
governments meeting in Lima to make meaningful commitments to speed up the
transition away from dirty energy sources.
"From Brazil and Mexico to Algeria and South Africa, this thirsty
industry is exploiting weak regulation and causing untold environmental and
social damage in the pursuit of profit.. The fracking industry needs to be
urgently reigned in before it's too late for our planet and people across the
globe," said Antoine Simon, shale gas campaigner at Friends
of the Earth Europe.
The report details how fracking is a global climate threat. Leakage of
methane – a greenhouse gas 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide – into
the atmosphere, even at fracking sites that use the "best available
technology", will cause harmful climate emissions and contribute to a 3.5°C global temperature rise if fracking is developed worldwide. Case studies from the US indicate
that due to methane leakage, there is a big risk that shale gas is far worse
than conventional gas and almost comparable to coal, so it cannot be a
The difficulties of ensuring effective regulation and monitoring of fracking
are already well-known in the US. European countries are experiencing firsthand
the need for caution, but the report shows the threats posed by fracking are
even bigger in countries with fewer environmental and human rights safeguards
or less capacity to enforce them.
Susann Scherbarth, climate justice and energy campaigner at Friends
of the Earth Europe, said: "Around the world people and
communities are already paying the price of the climate crisis with their
livelihoods and lives. Fracking will only make things worse and has no place in
a clean energy future. Europe and other industrialised countries most responsible
for the climate crisis need to use the talks in Lima to make genuine
commitments to end their reliance on corporate-controlled fossil fuels and
embrace clean, citizen energy."
195 nations are gathering for the latest round of United Nations climate talks
which start in Lima, Peru today and are a crucial step towards agreeing an
adequate, fair global agreement to curb emissions beyond 2020 in Paris next year.
European governments are going to Lima claiming to have committed to
'ambitious' climate action but the targets they agreed for 2030 are far below
what science says is necessary and below Europe's fair share of climate action.
Friends of the Earth Europe believes that industrialised countries must
urgently commit to much deeper emissions reductions at home, and to give
additional financial, technology and other support to poorer countries on the
front line of climate change.
Jagoda Munic, chairperson of Friends of the Earth International,
said: "The reality is that all major climate polluters are still doing
way too little to address the climate crisis. Our governments are mostly
focusing on false solutions and dirty energy, like fracking. Real solutions
exist and include steep reductions in carbon emissions, stopping fossil fuels
and deforestation, and building sustainable, community-based energy systems."