The significant growth in production of natural gas from shale formations constitutes one of the most important developments in the energy sector, which has been made possible by a reduction of production costs and the overcoming of technological barriers. Recent advances in fracturing (also known as “fracking”) and horizontal drilling technologies have led to a dramatic increase in shale gas production in the United States, which resulted in energy experts describing shale gas as a “bridge fuel” to carbon-free renewable resources as our primary source of energy. Furthermore, shale formations are found in almost every region of the globe; thus the potential for shale gas development is of great importance. Although shale gas represents a revolutionary element in the global energy framework, several regulatory and environmental concerns related to its extraction and production processes have been raised, in particular about the use of hydraulic fracturing fluids and the consequential risk of drinking water contamination. As the “shale gas revolution” that took place in the United States has highlighted, human health and environmental concerns continue to dog shale gas development. In that respect, given the global scope of its potential, it is crucial to ensure that the development of shale gas resources will be carried out in an environmentally sound manner. China is aware of the importance of unconventional gas as a carbon-friendly energy source and pivotal element in achieving the country’s future energy and environmental objectives. As it is the country with the largest increase in greenhouse gas emissions, China’s capacity to substitute coal with cheaper gas as its primary electricity generating fuel has the potential to represent a huge step toward global warming mitigation. However, China lacks comprehensive legal instruments capable of addressing the potential environmental hazards of shale gas extraction, and suffers from weak enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.