March 9, 2020 Read More →

IEEFA Australia: Gas is not a “transition fuel”

Renew Economy:

As Australia’s natural gas sector braces for the price impact of the global COVID-19 crisis, a leading energy think tank has used new analysis to argue that emissions from natural gas have been dangerously underestimated and that it was wrong to treat gas as a “transition fuel” in the shift away from coal.

In a new report, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) says that emissions from the production and use of natural gas may have been significantly underestimated and that this has been obfuscated by a concerted campaign of the natural gas industry.

“The industry claims burning fossil fuels such as ‘natural’ gas is cleaner than burning coal, a commodity on its way out as the world transitions to cleaner more sustainable energy sources,” IEEFA gas analyst Bruce Robertson said.

“This is simply not the case. Gas is worse than coal in the short term due to its release of methane into the atmosphere.”

IEEFA criticised the continued efforts to position natural gas as a transition fuel and suggestions that the global economy should use gas as an alternative to coal, rather than simply transitioning directly to affordable supplies of zero-emissions energy.

“Methane from gas poses the greatest threat to the warming climate,” Robertson said. “If you leak more than 2% to 3% of methane, it is worse for the climate than coal.”

Australia has significantly increased its production of natural gas over the last decade, with the growth in supply almost exclusively being directed into the export market, in search of lucrative prices being offered by industrial customers in South Korea and Japan.

This ramp-up in new gas production has pushed Australian greenhouse gas emissions higher, with subsequent increases in fugitive emissions effectively offsetting emissions reductions achieved in the electricity sector.

[Michael Mazengarb]

More: Gaslighting on emissions: IEEFA says burning LNG “worse than coal” for climate

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