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The 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,” a new report from Global Energy Monitor has found. The push for LNG has sparked outrage by renewables activists who liken the so-called bridge fuel to kicking an oxycontin habit in favor of heroin.
Global Energy Monitor, a network of researchers developing collaborative informational resources on fossil fuels and alternatives, argues that the massive increase in LNG-related infrastructure globally is incompatible with the warning of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that gas use must drop by 15 percent by 2030 and 43 percent by 2050 compared to 2020, if the planet is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
“With the move to natural gas, it’s as if we proudly announced we kicked our Oxycotin habit by taking up heroin instead,” Global Energy Monitor’s report said, quoting environmentalist Bill McKibben.
According to the report, the main component in natural gas—methane—has been responsible for 25 percent of global warming to date.
“Measured by global warming impacts, the scale of the LNG expansion under development is as large or greater than the expansion of coal-fired power plants, posing a direct challenge to Paris climate goals,” the report from Global Energy Monitor highlights.
Globally, a total of US$1.3 trillion—including US$507 billion in the United States and US$410 billion in Canada—is currently being invested in LNG expansion, which would lock in much higher levels of natural gas production through the middle of this century.
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Not only will increased use of natural gas undermine climate goals, but the “falling cost of renewable alternatives will make many of these projects unprofitable in the long term and put much of the $1.3 trillion being invested in this global gas expansion at risk,” Global Energy Monitor said.
Many companies are pitching LNG and natural gas as a cleaner burning fossil fuel than coal, but Global Energy Monitor disagrees because comparisons don’t take into account the effect of leakages in natural gas production and transportation because methane “is a far more powerful global warming gas than carbon dioxide.”
“Even today, there’s still talk of natural gas a bridge towards renewables, which is completely contrary to the facts,” Ted Nace, executive director of the Global Energy Monitor, told The Canadian Press.
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.