UN debate on fracking as part of SDGs

First time fracking will be discussed inside UN Headquarters

Richard Lee's picture

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Strategic communications for WWF

November 25th, 2013

<--break->Over the past few years, has been presented by the oil and gas industry as a silver bullet for our economic woes. According to the industry, the mining of unconventional shale gas and oil deposits - as well as coal-bed methane - is supposed to flood our communities with money, jobs, and other development opportunities.

However, fracking comes with a price - as shown in a new OSISA-funded film, the High Cost of Cheap Gas. The latest science and findings from America show that it can have negative impacts on human and animal health, and the environment. In addition, the whole process can make it 'dirtier' than coal - in terms of its contribution to global climate change.

But until now, there has been no official debate within the UN Headquarters about fracking - despite the fierce fights raging over the technique in the US, Europe, South Africa and now Botswana, where the government has just admitted to fracking and to granting gas concessions over vast areas of land.

However, on Monday 25th of November, the UN will address the role of fracking during a side-event called  at a meeting to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speakers at the event include Ambassador Stephan Tafrov, Permanent Representative of Bulgaria to the UN; François Gave, Permanent Mission of France to the UN; and Food & Water Watch’s own Senior Organizer for New York, Eric Weltman.

As ">Rich Bindell of writes, the UN is currently engaged in a multi-year process to develop SDGs that will chart a common global path towards merging economic development with environmental stability - focussing on how can people around the world succeed and improve their lives, without furthering damage to our planet and communities?

Some states are moving ahead quickly with fracking in the hopes of achieving energy independence from imported oil and gas. Meanwhile, other states, such as France, have banned the practice, believing that it cannot be done without damage.

This UN side-event is a critical step forward since it will help to provide a platfrom within the UN to debate the pros and cons of fracking and unconventional natural gas production in general.

It is vital that the latest information is circulated and debated - not just activist rhetoric and company promises - so that people around the world can make their own minds up about whether to proceed with fracking or not.

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