Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) is paramount for environmental sustainability, and so any new developments must report on its estimated carbon emissions during and after construction. Energy developments are no exception. The extraction of unconventional gas, which includes Coal Bed Methane (CBM) and shale gas (SG), is currently being explored in the UK. To minimise disruption to local communities, and, to an extent due to the location of the resource, unconventional gas developments may be preferentially positioned in rural areas, where soils are largely vegetated. A study of the lifecycle emissions from extracting these resources in Scotland identified that GHG emissions from land use change (LUC) could be significant where high carbon soils such as peat are disturbed during site construction.
To explore this topic further, we estimated the potential emissions from land use change for three proposed unconventional gas developments in the UK; one to extract CBM in Falkirk (Scotland) and two to explore the SG resource in Lancashire (England).