Fossil gas must be phased out along with coal
The report by the research organisation Climate Action Tracker (CAT) contradicts projections that forecast an increase in natural gas consumption and criticises the fact “that governments and companies are staking significant investments in natural gas infrastructure on them, ignoring the increasing role of low-carbon alternatives, and the need to reduce emissions to combat climate change”.
“One example is China, where in 2016 the IEA projected renewables would rise to 7.2% of the power supply by 2020—but by the end of 2016 they had already reached 8%. Additionally, India and the Middle East are also seeing renewables rising much faster than mainstream projections,” says Niklas Höhne from the NewClimate Institute.
“Natural gas is often perceived as a ‘clean’ source of energy that complements variable renewable technologies. However, there are persistent issues with fugitive emissions during gas extraction and transport that show that gas is not as ‘clean’ as often thought,” according to Bill Hare of Climate Analytics. “Natural gas will disappear from the power sector in a Paris Agreement-compatible world, where emissions need to be around zero by mid-century.”
The report analysis states that “despite these developments, massive investments into LNG pipelines and terminals continue, even as the utilisation rates of such infrastructure are decreasing. For example, utilisation rates in US natural gas infrastructure are at 54%, and are even lower in Europe at 25%”.
“This overinvestment in natural gas infrastructure is likely to lead to either emissions overshooting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C and 2°C goals – or a large number of stranded assets as the shift to cheaper renewables takes place, “concludes Andrzej Ancygier of Climate Analytics.
Compiled by Reinhold Pape
The report, titled “Foot off the gas: increased reliance on natural gas in the power sector risks an emissions lock-in” can be downloaded at: http://climateactiontracker.org/assets/publications/briefing_papers/CAT-...