Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action

Hydraulic Fracturing Exploration: Discussion

Photo of Alice-Mary HigginsAlice-Mary Higgins (Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I thank all of the presenters. Professor Howarth mentioned that only have ten years of research and we are only learning about the impacts of methane. It seems that everything we have learned about the impacts of methane is alarming, particularly that it has a far greater impact than carbon dioxide on global warming. Professor Howarth stated that methane can be 100 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. It makes up more than one third of the increase in watts per square meter in terms of global warming and the climate system responds more quickly to methane than carbon dioxide. I ask Professor Howarth to address that.

Given that we have this new form of seemingly more dangerous energy being supplied into the market, is Professor Howarth concerned that it is acting as a accelerant in respect of climate change and global warming? The requirement for ten year access to the network as part of planning permission for a project of common interest was mentioned. Is it the understanding of our guests that if this project were to go ahead, we would be tied for a decade into continuing to use methane, a fuel whose impacts we have only known for a short period? How could we exit from that requirement if the research and policy continue to evolve? I have asked a scientific question and a related legal question.