Unconventional Sources of Fossil Fuel in the European Union and China: Perspectives on Trade, Climate Change and Energy Security

  • Rafael Leal-ArcasEmail author


This chapter examines the case of unconventional fossil fuels in the European Union (EU) and China. Recent developments in the extraction of energy from unconventional fossil fuels will have consequences for the governance of global energy trade and European energy security. When it comes to trading energy, there is a clear difference between oil and gas, in that oil can be easily transported, whereas gas needs to be liquefied or transported through pipelines and, consequently, the technological and political challenges are higher for gas than they are for oil. The chapter’s main argument is that shale gas and shale oil will revolutionise world energy politics and economics. Irrespective of whether environmentally acceptable extraction technologies and political consensus for the extraction of unconventional fossil fuel sources in Europe can be found, the EU will be unable to avoid its impacts on global energy markets and will have to adapt EU internal and external energy policies accordingly. Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the EU’s internal and external governance framework has evolved; however, EU energy policy is only partially ready for the unconventional energy revolution. The EU has taken remarkable steps towards addressing its Member States’ respective energy security in a more cohesive manner, although issues do exist in terms of the distinct energy interests of EU Member States that undermine cohesive EU action.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

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