The Energy Secretary, who is a Liberal Democrat member of the UK coalition government with the Conservatives, told Carbon Brief there was no evidence hydraulic fracking for gas or petroleum in the UK would transform the British economy and massively reduce prices.
When asked if he thought fracking had been hyped, he replied:
"Oh, God, yes. I mean I say there are three types of commentators on fracking. There are those people who say it is the Devil's work and we should not see any fracking at all, despite the fact that people have been fracking for about a century and a half, and those same people probably consumed fracked goods, and therefore supped with the Devil, no doubt."
Official British Government policy is to allow fracking. The government believes that shale gas has the "potential to provide the UK with greater energy security, growth and jobs". Official policy is that it is encouraging "safe and environmentally sound exploration" to explore the potential for shale gas fracking.
However, its own energy Secretary Davey said:
"There are those people who think it's the silver bullet. I call them the "frack-baby-frackers" — some part of the Conservative party who, you know, would frack every bit of croquet lawn if they possibly could."
"I think they're crazy. I mean, you know, they make these ridiculous ideas, not backed by any evidence, that something [fracking] will transform the British economy and massively reduce prices. No evidence for that, whatsoever," he said.
Davey said far more money should be put into energy efficiency, which he says is the cheapest way of helping people, and renewables. "I'm making sure that it's energy efficiency that is my number one investment.
If I had to choose, it would be renewables, and, within renewables, it would be solar," he said.