Germany to ban fracking, or so it says


The German government says it will soon move to ban fracking in the country until 2021, which would make it the latest nation (after France and Bulgaria) to eliminate the destructive natural gas drilling process. In a press briefing, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Environmental Minister Barbara Hendricks noted that legislation will be drawn up and approved in the final half of the year.

"There won't be fracking of shale gas or coal gas for economic reasons in the foreseeable future," confirmed Hendricks. However, one can read in between the lines and see that there is still room for exploitation by natural gas corporations. Case in point: there are a number of "special circumstances" which would allow fracking to circumvent the legislation. An example is that the law's language states that "unconventional" fracking cannot take place more than 3,000 meters below the surface - but "conventional" fracking can. While this will still effectively prevent fracking from, in most cases, contaminating groundwater, it will not prevent it from triggering small earthquakes.

Political parties including the Green Party have reacted with strong criticism; the chairman of the Greens' parliamentary group, Oliver Krischer, went as far as to call it a "fracking-enabling law," recognizing the distinction between this potentially deceptive proposal and an actual fracking ban - "a regulation that does not allow fracking in Germany and without loopholes that are as big as a barn door."

Hubertus Zdebel of the Left party agreed, noting, "Fracking must be banned in Germany without any exceptions. To say that there is a fracking ban in the paper is window dressing. They want to enforce a regulation which mostly allows fracking under the guise of an alleged ban." Citing estimates obtained from the Federal Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources, he added, "The planned restrictions will still allow the exploitation of half of all unconventional natural gas deposits in Germany." He also said there are other potential risks associated with allowing deep fracking, including uncontrolled methane gas emissions.

Francisco Szekely, writer for EnergyBiz, remarked that the legislation is likely a play to quell environmentalists' fears while also reducing Germany's dependency upon Russia for gas imports. He said, however, "This decision is not a sustainable solution. The temporary relief of geopolitics should not be achieved at the long-term cost of environmental degradation. To put our economy and our world on a path to sustainability, governments and companies need to focus on doing real good for society and not just doing less harm, as seems to be the case" with this fracking issue.

"With evidence of climate change becoming clearer than ever," he added, Germany should be "thinking carefully before allowing fracking in their territory. Moreover, whatever short-term promise fracking offers is also taking our sense of urgency away from transitioning to more renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar power."

So in short, one might conclude, Germany's "fracking ban" may be little more than a smoke-and-mirror tactic. Said Szekely: "To quote Albert Einstein, 'We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.'"

Photo: AP


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  • When shale gas recovery is considered in pure economic terms this recovery of a non conventional energy resource stands head and shoulders above other non renewable and renewable energy. When viewed in terms of carbon footprint reduction the use of non renewable shale gas that off sets the use of traditional fossil resources has a pronounced reduction of CO2. Only when Europe shifts gears to afford the comprehensive change in Agricultural Architecture with the complimentary new industry development of complex regional Biorefinery operations can we hope to gain the amount of renewable resources that afford the interests of investment from both private sector and governments. The advance of shale gas recovery is due to the more immediate rate of return on investment and that such investment is regionally impact worthy in ways that could stimulate future investments into bioeconomy. In Social Environmental terms few are observing that reengineering the Agricultural Architecture of Europe requires the strengthening of regional economies. We must move closer to circular economic activity. While the majority of comment holds focus upon Climate Change we might be best guided " globally" by addressing the "hygine" of all industrial practice. For the most part humanity subscribes to the most filthy of energy and downstream product utility from non renewable resources on the basis that such practice is the " cheapest" practice. Of course we know, at every stage our practices are not "least cost". By operating as cheap suppliers of energy and related products the fossil industry from resource recovery to end user has reaped profits for many decades while building up impact costs that all humanity is charged to address. There is no inventive for the fossil industry industrial giants to use their resources in support of bioeconomy. They have a profit incentive for investing in shale gas recovery. Thus far non of the major energy or chemicals companies have recognised that regional complex Biorefinery in sync with agricultural changes give rise to profits as well as hygienic industrywide practices that enhance movements away from global filthy habits.

    Posted by Clive Richardson, 07/20/2014 7:22am (1 year ago)

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