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Natural gas can help reduce emissions only if it is paired with projects of carbon capture, John Kerry, the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, said in an interview this weekend.
While natural gas is cleaner than coal, it is still a polluting fossil fuel, especially with methane emissions. Before 2022, countries with net-zero targets, including large economies in the EU, were reluctant to commit to long-term LNG supply deals with the biggest LNG exporters because of the emissions profile of LNG projects.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, however, most countries shifted focus to energy security and EU member states accelerated efforts to buy more LNG to replace Russian pipeline gas.
According to the U.S. climate envoy Kerry, “Gas is clearly part of the transitional effort.”
“But if you’re going to head to net-zero by 2050, you’ve really got to have some serious capacity to be able to reduce emissions,” Kerry told Bloomberg in Abu Dhabi on the sidelines of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Forum.
During a panel at the forum, Kerry said, “If the world goes crazy on gas in the next 10 years, we’re in trouble.”
Last year, global LNG imports hit a record high of 409 million tons, as Europe scrambled to replace Russian pipeline gas supply and outbid Asia to draw the majority of cargo.
While the energy crisis in Europe has strengthened the case for a rush to build new LNG export infrastructure, the EU’s plan to reduce gas consumption, slash emissions, and become a net-zero bloc by 2050, could be a problem for LNG investments that have come too late to the party.
Investments in new LNG infrastructure are set to surge, reaching $42 billion annually in 2024, Rystad Energy research showed last year. But 2024 would be the peak new LNG infrastructure investment – “project approvals after 2024 are forecast to fall off a cliff as governments transition away from fossil fuels and accelerate investments in low-carbon energy infrastructure,” the energy research firm said.
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.