Uncertainty in the Shale Gas Debate: Views From the Science–Policymaking Interface

Constantin Marius PROFIROIU, Paolo GASPARINI, Valentina IVAN


Shale gas involves a technology which is a controversial method of energy production mainly because there are uncertainties about the possible environmental and human health impacts. The article aims to identify the level of knowledge in relation to the impact of environmental risks attached to shale gas exploitation in the academic and scientifi c community. It does so by employing the expert elicitation approach which has the benefi t of quantifying the judgment of individual experts. We have revealed a consistency among researchers in assessing the level of uncertainty of the main environmental risks and a preferred policy option in dealing with uncertainty, a vow for improved transparency, openness and ease of access to information. Shale gas policy-making in Europe needs a science- based approach as science informs policy by delivering objective and reliable knowledge. The article concludes that developing a comprehensive approach based on scientifi c data and an appropriate regulatory framework will provide a path forward for the future development of contested policies like shale gas.


shale gas, uncertainty, access to information, expert elicitation.

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