Shale gas can be part of the solution to tackling climate change and must not be restricted by “green tape”, David Cameron is expected to say on Tuesday at a UN summit on tackling global warming.
The Prime Minister is among more than 100 global leaders attending the summit in New York convened by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, who has asked countries to make ambitious pledges for cutting their greenhouse gas emissions.
Each leader is expected to deliver a four-minute speech setting out their vision for how the world can come to a binding deal on emissions reductions at a summit in Paris next year.
Mr Cameron is expected to use his speech to make clear that countries should be allowed to choose their own paths to going green and must not be subjected to targets that require the use of specific technologies such as renewable energy.
They should also be free to pursue technologies such as shale gas, which is extracted by fracking, and nuclear power without restriction.
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Many influential environmental groups are vehemently opposed to shale gas extraction, citing studies showing that the world must leave much of its known fossil fuel reserves unburnt in the ground if it wants to avoid the most extreme impacts of global warming that scientists say are likely if temperatures exceed 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels.
But the UK Government has argued that gas can play an important role in tackling climate change cost-effectively by replacing much dirtier coal-fired power plants.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change backed that view earlier this year, saying shale gas “can be very consistent with low carbon development and decarbonisation” so long as it replaces coal.
Binding EU renewables energy targets for 2020 have forced Britain to subsidise the expansion of wind and solar farms, despite concerns about their cost and impact on the landscape.
The UK has lobbied against the imposition of any further binding targets for renewables and is instead pushing for the EU to adopt a target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40pc by 2020. This is in line with the UK’s own domestic decarbonisation targets.
The Prime Minister is expected to urge countries to focus on strategies that create jobs and create a more resilient economy, amid concerns that taking drastic action to combat climate change could harm economic growth.
No 10 sources said: “We’ve got further to go in terms of explaining how tackling climate change isn’t simply a green policy, it’s a growth policy. If you’re going to get the world’s biggest economies to stick to the 2C target, you’ve got to be serious about cutting green tape and creating green jobs.”