Anti-fracking campaigners have refused to be swayed by the latest national report into shale gas.
The Task Force on Shale Gas says the fuel has a role to play as an interim energy source in the medium term.
The body says gas will be needed for several decades, for energy, electricity, heating, and industry; but it must not prohibit or slow the development of an effective renewables and low carbon energy industry.
Lord Chris Smith, chairman of the Task Force on Shale Gas said: “The UK will only meet its binding climate commitments by moving in the long term to renewable and low carbon.
“Nonetheless, from the evidence it is apparent that renewables cannot meet the UK’s short term energy needs. Gas must play a role over the medium term. The relative climate impact of shale gas is similar to that of conventional gas and less than that of liquefied natural gas. It is also much better than coal.
“Gas will be needed for several decades to come. But we make two strong recommendations to make sure this happens in the right way. First, there must be immediate progress in developing carbon capture and storage for gas-fired power stations and industrial plant. And second, we recommend that the Government should deploy revenue derived from a developed shale gas industry to investment in R&D and innovation in CCS and low carbon energy generation, storage and distribution.”
Cuadrilla is biding to frack at two sites in Lancashire – both of which were rejected by county councillors this summer.
Greenpeace UK’s Hannah Martin said: “Fracking is not a bridge to a low-carbon future but just another cul-de-sac in our efforts to ditch dangerous fossil fuels. Energy analysts say that if fracking gets started at all in the UK, it still won’t be fully developed for another decade, by which time we should be well on our way to a fossil fuel-free energy future.”
Lancashire-based Tony Bosworth, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Three-quarters of known fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.”