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[en] About 2 years after the Fukushima accident, 2 recent polls show that public opinion again favors nuclear energy in France. 52% of the population consider that nuclear energy is consistent with the challenges of the energy transition while 69% think that shale gas should have no room in an energy mix. For 46% of the population the challenges of the energy transition is first to assure the protection of the environment and then to assure the energy independence. (A.C.)
[en] Along with petroleum and coal, natural gas is the primary cause of global warming. Equiterre believes that the energy sector must be completely decarbonised by 2050 if catastrophic consequences caused by this warming are to be avoided. The Utica shale formation in the Saint Lawrence Valley has been the object of much prospecting activity. The aim of the present study is therefore to determine if the development of shale gas can play a transitional role in the move towards a decarbonised energy system. To do this, Equiterre considers that gas should be substituted for more polluting fuels as quickly as possible and that thereafter it should be rapidly replaced by carbon-free fuels. Equiterre also considers, however, that the establishment of a shale gas industry in Quebec would only increase the overall volume of greenhouse gas emissions. Equiterre concludes that the setting up of a shale gas industry in Quebec is a purely commercial proposition which, at the best, would contribute nothing to the struggle to combat climate change.
[en] Renewable energy technologies are often idealized as environmentally innocent alternatives to fossil fuels. Fossil fuel extraction is often considered as ‘unjust’ and renewable energy as the ‘just’ alternative. At the same time renewable energy projects, such as wind parks, are often resisted because of the uneven impacts of its infrastructure. This paper analyses such ambiguous meanings of energy justice (social justice issues related to energy) along the lines of its three tenets: distributional, procedural and recognition justice, aiming to understand how energy justice is constructed from below. It does so on the basis of a case study in the Noordoostpolder (the Netherlands) where plans for extracting shale gas went together with both large-scale and small-scale renewable energy practices. The paper analyses how energy justice is ‘made’ by how people resist shale gas and engage in 'renewable energy practices' and as such produce new imaginations and normativities of energy justice. Such an ethnographic approach helps to understand energy justice as a process of co-construction of activists, policy makers and scholars and as such responds to recent calls for a human-centred approach to the study of energy transitions. The paper is based on two and a half years of ethnographic fieldwork in the Noordoostpolder. - Highlights: • Energy justice link small-scale energy practices and large-scale energy projects. • Energy justice should be analysed within its specific history, time and location. • Energy justice is constructed through social practices, not only discourses. • Local practices and imaginations of energy justice are key to project development.
[en] Shale gas remains a contentious issue in France. Just as a debate is being initiated in Parliament in preparation for a law on energy programming, it seems crucial to overcome the status quo induced by the law of July 13, 2011 which forbids the mere exploration of this source of energy. According to the Institut Montaigne (a think tank), shale gas represents a core asset for France. (authors)
[en] Shale gas has gained increasing worldwide attention in the light of the rapid production and significant effects seen in the United States. Using this case as a reference, several countries have taken the first steps to develop their own resources, with Mexico in particular including shale gas in its energy planning priorities and rushing towards its commercial production, although results have still remained elusive. This paper argues that due to the intrinsic complexity embedded in the shale gas development of the United States, its use as a benchmark by Mexico for policy making purposes is misleading, given the challenges in reproducing the same factors of success on the basis of the contextual differences between both countries. The findings presented can ultimately be helpful for other countries looking forward to or in the process of developing their shale gas resources driven by the same reference. -- Highlights: •The U.S. is generally regarded as the major benchmark to shale gas development. •Its use however, might be misleading without considering the structural complexity embedded. •Despite Mexico’s shale gas potential and policies, results have remained elusive. •In using this benchmark, Mexico has overlooked the ample differences underlying. •Instead of replication, this benchmark can be more useful for adaptive policymaking
[en] The recent decision by the Constitutional Council confirming the ban on hydraulic fracturing doused the hopes of proponents of shale gas production. But the real debate on the advantages and drawbacks of unconventional hydrocarbons (UHC) hasn't really started. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants reveals its scenarios, presenting the socio-economic impacts of developing HNC in France. (author)
[en] There is no human activity without risk. Accordingly, so neither is the extraction of shale gas. In fact this technology has a risk level similar to any other type of industrial activity and particularly those related to oil and gas industry. It is important to highlight the need to properly address these risks, among other reasons, for its influence on public acceptance of this technology, a key element for the commercial scale implementation. At present, risk management is a generally accepted tool for decision making and control of the risks that come from a wide variety of both industrial and not industrial human activities. It is an important element for the implementation of a large number of safety regulations, corporate policies and good industry practice . Thus, for example, chemical and petroleum, nuclear industries, aviation and aerospace or waste management make use of risk management as a central tool to identification the risks, to establish the importance and ranking of the estimated risks, to estimate the cost/benefit ratio in reducing these risks, and to carry out political and institutional processes to manage them. Risk management provides a broad framework to aid decision-making through the identification, analysis, and evaluation and control of risks, including, of course, those for health and safety. A key aspect is the need to ensure the identification of all significant risks, from which it may take appropriate measures (risk analysis). An unidentified risk allows or evaluation or its monitoring, reduction, acceptance or cancellation. After the analysis stage it may be considered for assessment, that is, the risk quantification, to classify them (acceptable, unacceptable, etc. risk). These actions are determined based on a balance between risk control strategies, their effectiveness and cost, and the needs, problems and concerns of those who may be affected, or stake holders, an essential element in the strategic planning of any activity or deal. Communication between stake holders throughout the process is a critical element in risk management. Decisions regarding risk issues must strike a balance between the technical aspects of them and the social and moral consequences of the project. (Author)
[en] Engineering advances in Canada are making unconventional gas plays more attractive, and provincial governments are looking to tap the economic benefits. Regulators are adjusting existing oil and gas regulations or drafting completely new legislation. This paper presented an overview of the rules for shale gas development in provinces with shale gas development potential, with particular reference to the following 4 regions: (1) British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan where natural gas development is a relatively well-established and significant part of the local economy, (2) Nova Scotia and New Brunswick where shale gas stands to significantly change the regulatory environment, (3) Quebec where local opposition to shale gas development is challenging for a provincial government that has relatively little experience in the area of oil and gas regulation, and (4) Ontario, where development potential seems to be limited. The paper identified 3 areas that often receive the most attention from regulators, notably tenure and development approval, with a focus on lands where gas rights are owned by the provincial crown; royalties, including any shale-specific incentive programs; and environmental regulation, with a focus on sourcing and use of water, management of produced and recovered waste water, and rules regarding frac fluid. The paper provided a big picture of Canada's legal system and then discussed the provincial situations. The future of shale policy and the American experience concluded the report. It was concluded that it is unlikely that the federal government of Canada will play a lead role in regulating shale development in this country. refs., figs.
[en] Belgian scientists have detected ethane in atmosphere samples from Switzerland. The origin of this ethane is highly likely to be linked to the production of shale gas in Northern America. These concentrations of ethane have been increasing by 5% a year since 2009 while they had been steadily decreasing by about 1% a year over the 2 previous decades. These releases of ethane are massive since they are detected in Europe while ethane's lifetime in the atmosphere is only 2 months. Ethane is exclusively released from natural gas leaks during extraction operations or tank filling. A measurement campaign involving infrared spectrometry stations around the world have shown that ethane is released only in the northern hemisphere. It also appears that the beginning of the increase coincides with the beginning of the industrial exploitation of shale gas in the U.S. (A.C.)
[en] With the Coal and Steel Community, energy was at the root of the creation of the European Union. Sixty years later, the energy question remains at the heart of member States' concerns, but a real common policy remains to be set up. The political and economic future of Europe is indissociable from energy challenges. To meet them, pragmatism has to carry the day over emotion. And France has to play a major role in this major venture. (authors)