Shale gas is a fossil fuel. The process of extraction, including drilling the wells and compressing the gas extracted, also involves the use of fossil fuels to power motors at the surface.
You may also be interested to know that shale gas investment does not come at the expense of investment in renewable energy, and it’s not a case of one or the other. Stephen Tindale, the former director of Greenpeace, said in May 2014 that climate campaigners should support fracking for shale gas. He says that the reason for this is that the use of shale gas would enable the UK to reduce the burning of coal.1
The Department of Energy and Climate Change says “gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and has half the carbon footprint of coal when used to generate electricity.”2 The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 35th Assessment Report, published in April 2014 also said that avoiding climate change will mean reducing coal use before reducing the use of gas. However, they concluded more research needs to be done on methane released into the atmosphere during shale gas extraction3.
Professor Richard Selley of Imperial College London said: “The government’s energy policy is to solve the ‘Trilemma’ for providing energy that is economic, that does least damage to the environment, and whose source is secure. It supports hydraulic fracturing for shale gas and oil as part of a balanced mix of diverse energy sources, including nuclear and renewables. All 3 major parties support this solution to the energy trilemma.