Wolf: Prepare for a golden age of gas

“But this revolution could prove to be a Faustian bargain.”

Martin Wolf writes in the Financial Times:

The world is in the midst of a natural gas revolution. Even the sober International Energy Agency refers to a scenario it calls a “golden age of gas”. If such optimism proves right, the implications would not only be far greater than those of the eurozone’s painful dissolution, but would also be economically positive. Never forget that ours is a civilisation built on cheap supplies of commercial energy. The economic rise of emerging countries is bound to make the demand for commercial energy increase dramatically in the decades ahead. Gas matters…

Shale gas underlines the ingenuity of those engaged in finding new sources of energy. It also suggests the welcome possibility of cheap natural gas for many decades. But this revolution could prove to be a Faustian bargain. Care needs to be taken over how – and how swiftly – the technology is introduced: environmental costs might prove heavy. “Make haste slowly”, as the ancient Romans used to say…

Read the entire commentary.

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