Transatlantic Perspectives on Shale Gas Development

On June 21, 2011, the Heinrich Boell Foundation and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) hosted an event on the development of shale gas using hydraulic fracturing technology. Fracking, as the technique is widely referred to, is controversial in terms of its environmental impact. In fact, a recent study conducted by Cornell University found that shale gas had a carbon footprint comparable or exceeding that of coal.

While Poland has announced major investments in shale gas development, countries such as Germany and France are proceeding cautiously over environmental concerns. In light of Germany’s phase out of nuclear by the year 2022, the country is looking into a reliable and cost-efficient power alternative. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania and New York among others in the United States are struggling with the dual challenge of producing energy domestically and protecting the economic and health related well-being of their local communities that live near such shale gas locations.

Speakers included:

  • Jeanne Briskin, Director, Hydraulic Fracturing Research Task Force, U.S. EPA
  • Wibke Brems, State Legislator, North Rhine-Westphalia
  • John Quigley, Principal, Strategic Advisor, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future
  • Saya Kitasei, Sustainable Energy Fellow, Worldwatch Institute