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Holger Krahmer

Fracking debate in Germany

Deceptive calm

A measure of calm seems to have settled on the subject of shale gas extraction in Germany ahead of the elections to the federal parliament – or is it just the calm before the storm to come following the elections? In June, a law intended to regulate shale gas extraction proposed by the governing coalition of conservatives and liberals failed to be passed. International Trade News put the question of what will happen after 22 September to FDP Euro-MP Holger Krahmer and the Green MP Oliver Krischer.

Holger Krahmer, environmental spokesman for the FDP in the European Parliament

“The extraction of shale gas from unconventional reserves is not the work of the devil but an opportunity that has been made possible by technological advances and which can result in cheaper energy. Shale gas is causing a revolution in the energy markets.

Pricing structures, supplier relationships and economic viability calculations for energy sources are on the brink of profound changes. Influenced by the new fossil fuels, we are currently experiencing a global energy transformation on a massive scale, which is not the result of any political strategy but which is being driven purely by market forces.

We in Germany should not pass up the opportunities offered by technological progress just because of widespread antipathy to new technology as has already happened in the case of green genetic engineering. Instead of getting bogged down in an endless and ideologically motivated debate, we need a legal framework that enables the extraction of shale gas reserves and also includes the necessary environmental protection standards.”

Oliver Krischer, spokesman for the Green Party Parliamentary Group on Energy

“The Green Party views the shale gas boom in the United States with extreme trepidation. All of the data indicates that a similar development cannot be expected in any other country. Even in the US, the hype surrounding shale gas is based on a bubble that is already beginning to burst.

The most productive fields are exhausted, total production is falling, gas prices are rising once again, and the drilling companies face bankruptcy. The cost of this bubble has been the destruction of the landscape and the poisoning of drinking water.

The benefits of fracking are heavily outweighed by the risks. The high population density in Germany and the rest of Europe puts the use of fracking out of the question while estimates as to the extent of potential reserves are relatively conservative.

We are therefore against the extraction of unconventional natural gas, particularly through the use of harmful chemicals (‘fracking’) because of the potential risks to our health and the environment. It would also endanger climate protection measures and the move to renewable sources of energy. After the next federal parliamentary elections, we will put forward a provision in the Federal Mining Act (Bundesberggesetz) that would prohibit fracking in Germany.”

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