Two high-profile speakers on either side of the shale gas debate clashed yesterday at a London energy conference.

Going head-to-head in what was billed as ‘The Frack Off’ was Chris Faulkner, founder and chairman of Brietling Energy, an oil and gas company based in Dallas, and journalist and human rights activist Ewa Jasiewicz (pictured).

Faulkner’s company is active in shale gas drilling and he argued at EnergyLive2014 that the track record oEwa Jasiewiczf shale gas in America proved that it created jobs, money and had put the country on the road to energy independence. He also stated that “fracking has done more than wind and solar combined to reduce carbon emissions in the US”.

Jasiewicz accused him of “behaving as if climate change doesn’t exist”.

“Fracking is not a bridge fuel,” she said, adding that “the bridge is burning down”.

She said shale gas was “not a profitable industry and it is not a viable industry. The economics of fracking don’t work – they don’t stack up.”

But Faulkner said that “natural gas is the key to reducing fuel poverty in the UK” and also took a swipe at Germany’s anti-nuclear, pro-renewables Energiewende.

“Lignite plants in Germany are dirtying the plant in the name of green energy,” he said, adding that energy prices in Germany “had sky-rocketed because of renewables”.