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Gas: What’s all the fuss?

Gas: What’s all the fuss?

Infografik Emmissionsbilanz Energieträger 2020 EN

For a long period, we have been cooking with gas. We use it to heat our homes and businesses and to generate electricity.

Natural gas is a major source of energy in the United States. 34% of the total energy consumedIn 2020, it was the main source for electricity generation.

The truth is that gas is being promoted as a booming, three-lettered climate hero, as the world works to eliminate coal-fired energy.

But is it really?


It is not, as the European Commission (EC) implied last week when it proposed classifying gas and nuclear energy as climate-friendly, a clean fuel.

Gas is a real thing. Emissions reduced by 50% than coal when producing electricity, but it has also proven to be the Fastest growingSource of planet-heating CO2 emission over the past decade, a trend that’s expected to continue.

In the European Union It’s the Second largestsource of CO2 emissions after coal, and it makes up around 22%The global carbon output


Yeah, oh. But that’s not all.

We are being told more often that gas is necessary to “transition to a cleaner energy future”. The theory goes that because it is still cleaner than its fossil friends, gas can help make up the energy shortfall caused by a looming coal power phase-out.

But the reality is that as a fossil fuel, natural gas causes climate change explaining why the European Green Party says it might take the EC to court over its push to classify some investments in gas as sustainable.

In short, gas is already being Described as the “new coal.”

Is it?

Natural gas is a combustible hydrocarbon mostly made up of methane which is around 28 times more polluting than CO2 and is prone to leak from gas pipelines and infrastructure.

It is a non-renewable fossil energy that is found deep beneath the ground, often near petroleum. We use it for energy, as well as for chemical feedstocks for plastics or fertilizers. However, natural gas reserves could be depleted in 50 years.

It is not long-term thinking to use gas as a “bridging” fuel for a clean energy future. One day, not too far down the line, it will run out. It’s supposed to provide energy security while we wait.

Is gas really so secure?

Gas is hard to source, which is why Europe still rely heavily on Russia for fossil fuel. 

Natural gas is transported long distances and pumped into pipelines. This adds to the infrastructure and carbon footprint.

Infographic: How does electricity affect the environment

Geopolitics is another problem. Take a look at the delays in connecting the Nord Stream 2 Russia and Germany gas pipeline amid increasing threats of war with Ukraine. It’s ready to flow, but it can’t flow. Gas prices skyrocket as supply ebbs. Energy security, hey.

Germany is so dependent upon gas for fuel and heating that it is openly available to US supplies. Germany has been planning to build huge new terminals to receive LNG shipments. 

Problem is, these imports would include fracked gas, which is extracted from rock and shale using poisonous chemicals in an environmentally-hazardous process.

Fracking, as is well-known, also releases a lot methane. It could be a potential arousal. bigger climate enemyIt is cheaper than coal

Many European countries, including Germany have banned the practice at home, but fracked US LNG might one day replace Putin’s gas.

Can we not just leave gas in the ground if it is so bad?

The EU believes that we can reuse existing gas infrastructures for “low carbon” gases like hydrogen and biogas. This was the gist a recent European Commission (EC). Proposal to decarbonize gas markets.

It may sound good in theory but it would mean that you would have to burn a lot of hydrocarbons and b) clean gasses like “green hydrogen” remain a pipedream because they can only come from renewable resources that will be used to power the energy transformation.

That is why Critics say talk of the green gas transition is giving fossil fuel companies a pass to greenwash their climate-wrecking business.

“Natural gasoline is not a bridging gas. It is a fossil fuel.” One climate analystIt should be treated as coal and phased-out as soon as possible.

What’s the alternative to this?

Experts We are grateful for your feedback last year that solar energy was now the “cheapest … electricity in history,” and that by 2050, solar and wind could meet the world’s energy demand 100 times more.

We have other options. Yet Australia is talking up a “gas-fired recovery” from the pandemic, and Europe is pushing hard to build its “gas bridge” to our bright and clean energy tomorrow.

Some sayAll this gas boosterism is a recipe to create a “carbon lock in” that will only delay energy transition.

Because all the capital and infrastructure that will go into a gas-fired energy transition means the fossil fuel will continue to be extracted to make good the investment. 

Meanwhile, that same cash could have gone directly into the renewables that would directly decarbonize the energy supply. 

And it would be energy we can still cook with.

Edited by Tamsin W. Walker

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