Commodities at a glance: special issue on shale gas
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking”, the divisive method of extracting natural gas from shale formations, should be approached with caution by countries seeking ways to increase access to energy, says a new UNCTAD report on shale gas. The report reviews the history of shale gas extraction in the United States and other national examples to assess how it aligns with commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change in the context of pressing energy needs. Climate change means that all countries must, as a matter of strategic urgency, move away from burning fossil fuels, including shale gas. But given that energy is needed to end poverty and boost development, countries with potential shale gas resources should understand the pros and cons when they take policy decisions about the short-term energy mix. The report, a special issue of UNCTAD’s Commodities at a Glance series, aims to “offer a dispassionate perspective” on shale gas and hydraulic fracturing for policymakers and other stakeholders.