"Climate-wise, when we analyzed it, shale gas from Europe would be a bit better than what we import from the outside, a bit worse than what we have in natural gas already. The effect climate-wise is minimal," she told a press conference after a meeting of EU environment ministers.
The commissioner also underlined that the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, does not interfere with member state's decisions on which types of energy to develop.
"The Commission position is very clear: the energy mix is up to each individual member state. They can do shale gas if they want, if they do not want, like France, for instance, has decided, they can decide not to do shale gas," Hedegaard said.
She also added that shale gas should not be considered a recipe for all problems, and member states should continue developing renewables and increase energy efficiency.
"Climate-wise, that's not where the biggest concerns are, as long as you do not think it is a recipe for everything, as long as you do not think it can replace renewables and energy efficiency," the commissioner said.
The European Commission has pledged to submit proposals by the end of this year on ways to ensure environmental standards for the extraction of shale gas by using the controversial method of hydraulic fracturing.