The impact of shale gas on the cost and feasibility of meeting climate targets (C6)

In recent years, there has been considerable global and regional interest in shale gas, which it has been suggested could play a role as a bridging fuel to a low-carbon future, and which has led to a huge increase in indigenous gas production in the US. There remains, however, considerable uncertainty over shale gas resource availability and extraction costs, as well as the fugitive methane emissions associated with shale gas extraction.

This study considers the impact of a range of shale gas cost and availability assessments on mitigation scenarios aimed at achieving a limit to global warming of below 2°C in 2100, with a 50% likelihood. The study first discusses existing analysis and uncertainty around shale gas resource availability, extraction costs and fugitive methane emissions. It then describes how a global energy systems model (TIAM-Grantham) is used to examine the impacts of shale gas availability on global mitigation scenarios aimed at achieving a long-term temperature goal of below 2°C in 2100 (with 50% likelihood), the results of this analysis, which focuses on the global energy system costs, shale gas demand and primary energy usage impacts, and finally the implications of this analysis.

Report reviews

The first draft of this report was reviewed by two independent academics, to ensure analytical rigour and balance in the study. This first draft report, as well as the two reviews (which also include the report authors’ responses to them) are available below.


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