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September 21, 2013

1- The ban on the exploration of shale gas: a breach of the precautionary principle?

by D.Venet

The people opposing production of shale gas in France state the “precautionary principle” (incorporated in the French Constitution), notably the potential environmental risks of this kind of production. But what if the contrary were cheap jerseys true? In up every decision to not do something a risk is taken: that of accepting the consequences of non-action.

In this case, the chain of reaction is the following:

  • The cost of gas in the USA has dropped to $3-4/mmbtu learn following the cheap jerseys production of He shale gas, compared to a price of $11-12/mmbtu in USP Europe.
  • Because the price of gas is so reasonable, American electricity producers are closing their coal-fired plants and replacing them by gas-fired plants; in the USA, gas is taking over coal in the production of electricity.
  • The price of American coal wholesale jerseys China is dropping as the coal-fired plants close and it cheap jerseys is forced to look CEO for new opportunities cheap nfl jerseys elsewhere.
  • Its new market is Europe, where gas prices are still high because there are no alternatives to importation as shale gas is not produced.
  • In Europe, the electric companies are closing their gas-fired electric plants in favor of coal-fired plants: in Europe it is coal that is taking over from gas in the production of electricity.
  • A coal-fired electric plant pollutes a lot more than a gas-fired plant: it generates 2 times more CO2 per kWh of electricity produced, as well as a whole lot of other pollutants (particles, SOx, NOx) whereas gas-fired particles only generate CO2 and water vapor.
  • The European CO2 market is not working as the price of CO2 is still too low to highlight the environmental advantages of gas. Indeed, European competiveness would be affected elsewhere if this were not the case and the European Parliament recently demonstrated that is was conscious of this by refusing to drastically reduce its free CO2 emission allowances.

Therefore, it must be noted that the USA, who are certainly not champions in the fight against climate change, are very significantly reducing their CO2 emissions while Europeans, who are much more righteous in their declarations, are in fact considerably increasing their own emissions.

In conclusion, the decision not to explore shale gas in order to avoid potential risks (which are probably treatable) has led to an immediate and definite increase in air pollution in Europe. This decision is therefore contrary to the precautionary principle which would, in this case, imply that the necessary research was done and that a complete comparison between the disadvantages of electricity generation based on shale gas production and those of coal-fired electricity was made.

D.Venet
Gleamergy
dominique.venet@gleamergy.com

This post is also available in: French

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