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The much-touted conversion from coal- and oil-fired power generation to natural gas actually raises the greenhouse effect of energy consumption by around 40 percent because of alarming methane emissions from gas, Berlin-based Energy Watch Group (EWG) said in new study.
According to the authors of the study published this week, natural gas has often been touted as the ‘cleanest’ fossil fuel that could be the ‘bridge’ fuel toward a zero-emissions future. However, if methane emissions are considered in addition to the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, it turns out that natural gas actually accelerates climate change because of the methane emissions in the entire value chain from natural gas extraction to consumption.
Natural gas not only increases the greenhouse effect, it also “creates obstacles to renewable energy sources, prevents a sustainable, emission-free economic system and blocks effective climate protection,” the study says.
The study also slams the International Energy Agency (IEA) for downplaying the emissions effect from natural gas, and claims that the rapid expansion of renewable energies to 100 percent worldwide is the only viable option.
“The IEA, which many governments regard as a reference for their energy policy decisions, deceives us with outdated figures and problematic assumptions about the actual climate impact of natural gas – with devastating consequences for our climate and the economy,” said Dr. Thure Traber, co-author and leading scientist of the EWG.
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“Existing and new subsidies for natural gas are incompatible with the Paris climate protection targets. Instead, we urgently need more investments in renewable energies, because only these have an immediate and lasting positive effect on the climate,” said Hans-Josef Fell, a former member of the German Parliament and President of the EWG.
Earlier this year, a report from Global Energy Monitor said that booming liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure around the world—with the U.S. and Canada accounting for 74 percent of proposed LNG export terminal capacity—poses “a direct challenge to Paris climate goals.” To this report, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) responded with a statement saying that “The conclusions of the Global Energy Monitor’s report are factually incorrect. Sharing these untrue statements is unacceptable. This is another deliberate attempt by a foreign-funded activist organization to discredit the Canadian oil and natural gas industry.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.