Shale gas extraction: issues of particular relevance to the European Union

In this statement, EASAC addresses three specific concerns that are being put forward in the public debate about the exploitation of Europe's shale gas potential:

(1) the implications of a high population density throughout Europe (in combination with the problem of water usage);

(2) the question of methane leakage; and

(3) the challenge of (local) public acceptance.

The statement finds that although these concerns are justified in general, all three of them can be mitigated by use of best practices and proper regulation. The statement thus concludes that the issues studied in the report need to be carefully reflected by policy-makers, but that they are not an unsurmountable obstacle for exploring and using Europe's shale gas potential. Currently the scale of the shale gas resources and the economic viability of its extraction in EU countries remain uncertain and, without exploratory drilling, this uncertainty will continue.

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