"WASHINGTON — The United States on Tuesday offered to help major economies such as China and India develop shale gas, a rapidly growing sector in North America which US officials bill as a clean alternative.
Twenty nations held two days of talks in Washington in first-of-a-kind shale gas talks initiated by the United States, where some forecast that shale -- a miniscule presence a decade ago -- could dominate the gas market by 2030.
Shale gas comes from deep reserves that were thought inaccessible until the advent of new drilling methods. But costs still are usually above conventional gas, and some environmentalists worry about pollution in drinking water.
US officials believe that developing shale gas would provide fast-growing China and India with a cleaner alternative to coal, a key culprit in carbon emissions blamed by scientists for a dangerous warming of the planet.
In Europe, shale gas could also reduce reliance on energy heavyweight Russia. Last year, a dispute between Russia and Ukraine cut off Russian gas to several members of the European Union."