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Edited by John C. Dernbach and James R. May

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James R. May and John C. Dernbach

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John C. Dernbach and James R. May

This chapter synthesizes some of the key lessons on the sustainability of shale gas from the 12 chapters provided by the contributing authors. The contributing authors were asked to assess what is now being done to address sustainability on their particular topic and to make recommendations on what should be done to foster sustainability on that topic. This synthesis also summarizes key legal and policy principles for sustainable development that the authors emphasized. This chapter tracks the major sections of this book – public health and the environment; community; public participation, public information, and access to justice; governance; and energy and climate change. It also proffers some overarching recommendations – again based on the chapters in this book – about laws and policies needed if shale gas is to accelerate the transition to sustainability. The chapter concludes that it is possible for shale gas to contribute to sustainability and help accelerate the transition to sustainability. But, from the evidence adduced in this book, the current legal and policy structure is not sufficient to do the job. If shale gas is to contribute to sustainability and help accelerate the transition, major changes in law and policy—changes recommended by the contributing authors—are needed.
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Shale Gas and the Future of Energy

Law and Policy for Sustainability

Edited by John C. Dernbach and James R. May

The rapid growth of shale gas development has led to an intense and polarizing debate about its merit. At the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, countries around the world concluded that the transition to sustainability must be accelerated. This book asks and suggests answers to the question that has not yet been systematically analysed: what laws and policies are needed to ensure that shale gas development helps to accelerate the transition to sustainability?
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John C. Dernbach

Few energy issues in recent decades have proven as contentious as shale gas. Supporters and opponents often speak in such strikingly divergent terms that they seem to be describing different activities. Typically, supporters point to the economic and security impacts of shale gas, and minimize the adverse environmental and social effects. Opponents often point to negative environmental and social impacts, and downplay the economic and security effects. This chapter explains sustainable development as an essential framework for providing a more complete understanding of whether shale gas contributes to overall human well-being. Key questions are whether shale gas development is sustainable and, if not, whether law and policy can actually make shale gas development sustainable. As this chapter also explains, it is not enough to make some progress toward sustainability. Key further questions are whether shale gas can help accelerate the transition to sustainability and, if so, how. These are the questions this book attempts to answer.