A Natural Gas Revolution: Hot Air or Dose of Sanity?


Thursday 18 October 2012, 12.20am | Video now online

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Is gas the energy source of the future? Gas is relatively clean (greenhouse emissions are around 50% less than coal) so we’d be doing our bit for the planet. There’s no question there’s plenty of gas in the ground, meaning a greater proportion of our energy could be generated from reliable sources, making us more resilient to political instability, natural disasters and terrorist attacks elsewhere in the world. A cheap, lower-carbon home-grown supply of energy sounds like an ideal solution.

But others would argue that this would be just a short-term fix. The price of gas seems set to rise and in any case gas is still a fossil fuel: if we’re serious about combating climate change we need drastic reductions in our emissions and that also means developing the UK’s vast potential for wind, wave and solar power.

There are powerful arguments on all these questions. To give voice to them Intelligence Squared, in partnership with Shell, brought together some of the world’s experts – from both sides of the debate – for an evening of discussion on the geology, politics and environmental impact of gas.


Wim Thomas

The geology and availability of gas: 250 years of abundance or mostly hype?

Chief Energy Adviser at Shell and head of the Energy Analyses Team in Shell’s Global Scenario Group


Professor Mike StephensonProfessor Mike Stephenson

Will gas warm us up or help cool us down? 

Head of Science and Energy at the British Geological Survey


Shamil YenikeyeffDr Shamil Yenikeyeff

Will energy independence give us greater security?  

Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and Senior Associate Member, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford


David Howell

In conversation on UK energy policy with Dr Pierre Noël 

Personal adviser to the Foreign Secretary on energy security, and former Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with special responsibilities for the Commonwealth and international energy issues


Dr Pierre NoelDr Pierre Noël

In conversation on UK energy policy with Lord Howell

Senior Research Associate and Director of Energy Policy Forum, University of Cambridge, specialising in oil and gas markets and industry


Anne McElvoyAnne McElvoy

Public Policy editor on The Economist and columnist on the Evening Standard
All speakers are subject to change.