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Gas as part of an ‘energy miracle’

Following up on Bill Gates’s recent comment that the world needs ‘an energy miracle’, François-Régis Mouton, Chair of GasNaturally, has said: ‘We are not there yet. But we can start laying the ground for future progress. Natural gas has already delivered improvements in emissions and air quality… the US would have been in a much more difficult position in Paris (at last year’s COP21 summit) were it not for the emission reductions achieved thanks to more gas (and less coal) in producing electricity.’ François-Régis’s thoughts on gas appeared as an editorial in a recent issue of EurActiv, an independent European online media platform. IOGP is GasNaturally’s leading member.

Expanding his argument in Euractiv, François-Régis cited figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA) that showed how, to meet a rigorous limit to the rise in global temperature of no more than 2ºC, the world ‘will have to use more natural gas in 2040 than we did in 2013, to cover 22% of the world’s primary energy demand. The solution to the climate problem is not getting rid of gas, but using it intelligently – for example in partnership with renewables’, he said.

Directing his comments at the European Union (EU), which is GasNaturally’s primary stakeholder, he went on to say that ‘If the EU wants to play the leading role in the global CO2 reductions it has always been seeking, it must make the right choices today.

Too many continue to support coal, relying on renewables to offset its huge CO2 harm – wasting most, if not all, the great benefits of hydro, wind and solar. The EU needs to make the most of the Post- COP21 momentum and ensure it doesn’t lag behind by supporting outdated energies.’

This would involve a phase-out of coal, he said. ‘Gas emits half the CO2 and fewer particles in power production. Most importantly, it brings the flexibility needed to integrate renewables – which are by definition variable – in the power market.’ As part of this, he said, ‘Private investments will be needed, for example, to keep improving the gas network. To commit big money, companies will need clear signals that their products will continue to have a market. Again, a clear move from coal to gas would send that signal, while also encouraging new uses for gas, such as in shipping and heavy-duty vehicles.’

‘Finally, we should continue to pursue a long-term vision by investing now in new technologies that will make that “energy miracle” happen. Our industry is committed to playing its part in developing innovations like biogas, power to gas and, for the longer term, carbon capture and storage,’ he said.

These actions would enhance the partnership between gas and renewables. The result, he concluded would put us on the right track to deliver that energy miracle.

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