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UK and Poland announce plans to push fracking across Europe

David Cameron tells Polish Prime Minister that he will cooperate to prevent EU legislation that could slow down fracking industry

Source: Flickr/bisgovuk

Source: Flickr/bisgovuk

By Sophie Yeo

The UK and Poland have pledged to work together against any EU regulation that could threaten the shale gas industry.

Speaking to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on the phone, David Cameron pledged to work with him to ensure a bright future for fracking across Europe.

The conversation comes as the EU works out a climate change package that would regulate the bloc’s greenhouse gas emissions until 2030. How the countries choose to produce their energy between now and then will partly determine whether they meet their new targets.

“On shale gas, they (Cameron and Tusk) welcomed the progress made to head off EU legislative proposals and agreed that there should be further co-operation to promote the benefits of shale gas across Europe,” said a Downing Street spokesperson.

He added that they also wanted “to ensure that the European Commission does not place burdens on the industry that prevent countries from realising the sector’s full potential.”

“I am not in favour of new legislation where the lengthy timeframes and significant uncertainty involved are major causes for concern,” Cameron wrote to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in the letter dated December 4.

“The industry in the UK has told us that new EU legislation would immediately delay imminent investment.”

France has a moratorium on the technology, while it is also effectively banned in Germany.

Maps published by the government in December revealed that over 60% of British land could be available for fracking licenses. The Times reported today the UK ministers are considering allowing more of the profits made by the fracking industry to be channelled into the communities where the wells are drilled.

Poland’s Environment Minister Marcin Korolec was sacked halfway through the UN’s annual climate negotiations that he hosted last year, with reports suggesting slow progress on shale development as the main reason for his removal.

His replacement, Maciej Grabowski, was quick to highlight shale gas development as his priority.

In November, he told the Polish newspaper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna that he was keen to form coalitions with states such as the UK to fight against EU regulation that could hamper the nascent industry.

“I know what is happening in Brussels, some concern is warranted,” he said. “If there is need we will act in an unambiguous way on many front lines and create coalitions to back our position.”

While the EU is unlikely to dictate how countries should source their energy, the 2030 package will impose a greenhouse gas target binding member states to further emissions reductions.

Today, two committees within the EU voted for a 40% reduction. The White Paper is due to be released on 22 January.

Fracking for oil and gas faces widespread opposition within the UK,  and last summer Cuadrilla was thwarted in its plans to drill for oil from shale in southern England.

While gas is cleaner to burn than coal, opponents say that the UK should not lock itself into a new source of fossil fuels at a time when it needs to work on slashing its emissions.

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UK “going all out for shale” with 40 fracking sites in pipeline

Cameron’s fracking push ignores UK’s binding climate targets

UN climate talks host Poland to accelerate shale gas push

  • https://twitter.com/FrackingBan Global Fracking Ban

    No amount of science or robustness of a regulatory regime can prove fracking is safe or ensure the level of safety now or in the future. NOBODY can predict that human error or machine and equipment failure will not occur. But history tells us that the hydrocarbon extraction industry experiences human error and equipment failure on a daily basis resulting in serious injuries and fatalities along with catastrophic environmental damages. In light of this knowledge, and the fact that fracking gone wrong can cause irreversible damage to, aquifers, soil, air quality and the climate, that affect the majority, the long-term impacts that surround the shale and coal bed methane extraction industries outweigh, * BY FAR*, the short term economic advantages to be gained by a select few.
    Neither can anybody predict whether natural events such as earthquakes, ground movements or build up in formation pressures will or will not occur during drilling, production or long after plug and abandonment that can impact on the integrity of a well.

    • FatBastage72

      “No amount of science or robustness of a regulatory regime can prove fracking is safe…”
      Similarly no abount of engineering or road rules can prove that driving is safe. Should we ban road transport then?
      Fracking is not new, it’s been a commercial operation since 1949, one Gasland mockumentary and local NIMBYs uninformaed hysteria doesn’t disprove over 60 years of industry experience.
      Perhaps you’d prefer to heat you house with locally generated organic methane? Best buys shares in Heinz then old bean.

  • winona

    He should be sectioned!!! There is overwhelming evidence from the US about the horrors of toxic fracking in every respect, no-one wants it but instead want renewables, solar, wind, etc which could easily be achieved and also create real jobs not pretend ones!!! Just because he wants to sneak this in quietly doesn’t mean the majority don’t hate this, because they do!!!!! He is nothing more than a greedy egotistical little sociopath who thinks of only money!!! Luckily the general population of the UK have had more than enough of this unelected government.

  • Wart Hog


    • FatBastage72

      Were you a shop steward in the days before unions and ecotards destroyed UK industry?

  • Syzygy

    The experience in the US is that it has been a ‘false dawn’ – a bubble fraud.

    ‘At a time when much of the world is looking with a mix of envy and excitement at the recent boom in USA unconventional gas from shale rock, when countries from China to Poland to France to the UK are beginning to launch their own ventures into unconventional shale gas extraction, hoping it is the cure for their energy woes, the US shale boom is revealing itself to have been a gigantic hyped confidence bubble that is already beginning to deflate. Carpe diem!’


  • David Calvert

    Wind turbines are a complete waste of.space, and resources, they take about 18 years just to produce the power that it took to manufacture, if the government was not subsidizing them with vast amounts.of money they would not be built. Let’s get Fracking and open up the mines to power Britain. We are sat on hundreds of years of fuel, let’s get using it lets sell it took HELP get our economy moving, create jobs,

  • Watch Dog

    Don`t succumb to cheap propaganda spread by the country which built its power selling natural gas to half of Europe and Asia . Russians will do anything to stop fracking shale gas in Poland , they will bribe corrupted EU herd to issue “law” in their favor . Money will buy them their status quo of further Poland`s dependence on Russian resources. This fact has already built their position of sovereign in mutual economical dealings . Poland pays the highest price for gas in the entire EU because Poland does not have other options . Other countries extract gas from the North Sea , Poland doesn`t . Don`t be such assholes , because you are in better position , we all realize that extracting gas and oil from under the sea degrades natural environment too. Hypocrites !