EU Shale Gas: Don't open Pandora's box

Illustration from the brochure on the trade-offs of shale gas extraction © WWF DCPBrussels, Belgium: On the day of the European Commission's stakeholder event on shale gas and other unconventional fossil fuels [1], WWF calls on EU decision makers to leave them in the ground.

"Not only is shale gas dirty, it's unnecessary. As Europe converts to renewable energy we will be using less gas [2]. Our main challenge in avoiding dangerous global warming is keeping fossil fuels in the ground [3], not finding new ways to get them out", said Jason Anderson, Head of Climate and Energy for WWF's European Policy Office.

WWF's position paper [4] outlines four key reasons to oppose shale gas exploitation:

  • it could derail efforts to prevent dangerous climate change;
  • it will waste scarce energy investment capital;
  • it could delay the development of a sustainable European energy system;
  • it poses unacceptable risks to local populations and their environment;

"Tackling Europe's energy price and economic competitiveness challenges is best done by redoubling efforts to remain the world leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy [5]", continued Jason Anderson. "Overspending on fossil fuels while accelerating climate change and polluting the environment is both economically and environmentally illiterate."



Jason Anderson
Head of Climate & Energy
WWF European Policy Office
Phone:+32 2 740 09 35
Mobile:+32 4 74 837 603

Audrey Gueudet
Communication and Media Officer
WWF European Policy Office
Phone: +32 2 743 88 06 |
Mobile: + 32 4 94 03 20 27

Notes to Editors

[1] Stakeholder event - "Unconventional fossil fuels (e.g. shale gas) in Europe:

[2] European Commission Energy Roadmap 2050, as analysed in 'Re-energising Europe' figure 7, page 19. Online at:

[3] See 'Unburnable Carbon'

[4] WWF position paper on shale gas in the European Union: keep Pandora's Box firmly shut. Online at:

[5] WWF position paper on a post-2020 climate and energy package and competitiveness in the EU:

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