New Report Debunks Gas ‘Bridge Fuel’ Myth
TRENTON, NJ (May 30, 2019) — A new report debunks the myth that natural gas can be a bridge to a clean, affordable energy future and warns policymakers to “avoid picking gas as the winner” in the transition to clean energy.
“Oil and gas corporations have championed and invested in this myth as a way to delay the transition away from fossil fuels,” the report by Oil Change International states. “Alarmingly, despite the evidence that over-reliance on gas is a recipe for climate breakdown, a number of politicians and decision-makers continue to repeat the myth of gas as a climate solution.”
The report — “Burning the ‘Gas Bridge’ Myth: Why Gas is Not Clean, Cheap, or Necessary” — is part of an Oil Change International series of reports on gas and climate. The report cites five compelling reasons why gas is not a bridge to a safe climate:
Click here for entire report.
- Gas Breaks the Carbon Budget: The economically recoverable oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently producing and under-construction extraction projects would take the world far beyond safe climate limits. Further development of untapped gas reserves, including new shale wells, is inconsistent with the climate goals in the Paris Agreement. Even if global coal use were phased out overnight, already-developed reserves of oil and gas would push the world above 1.5°C of warming. There’s simply no room for more gas.
- Coal-to-Gas Switching Doesn’t Cut It: Climate goals require the energy sector to be decarbonized by mid-century. This means that both coal and gas must be phased out. Replacing coal plants with new gas plants will not cut emissions by nearly enough, even if methane leakage is kept to a minimum. Current plans for gas production growth drastically overshoot climate safe models and are a bridge to climate disaster.
- Low-Cost Renewables Can Displace Coal and Gas: The dramatic and ongoing cost declines for wind and solar disrupt the business model for gas in the power sector. Wind and solar are already cheaper to build and operate than coal and gas in most markets. Cost is clearly not a prohibitive factor to adding renewable generation capacity, whether to replace fossil fuel capacity or to meet rising demand.
- Gas Is Not Essential for Grid Reliability: Wind and solar require balancing, but gas is not the only, nor the best, resource available for doing so. Battery storage is fast becoming competitive with gas plants designed for this purpose (known as “peakers”). Wind and solar plants that are coupled with battery storage are also becoming a competitive “dispatchable” source of energy. Managing high levels of wind and solar on the grid requires optimizing a wide range of technologies and solutions, including battery storage, demand response, and transmission. There is no reason to favor gas as the primary solution.
- New Gas Infrastructure Locks In Emissions: Multibillion-dollar gas infrastructure built today is designed to operate for decades to come. Given the barriers to closing down infrastructure ahead of its expected economic lifespan, it is critical to stop building new infrastructure, the full lifetime emissions of which will not fit within Paris-aligned carbon budgets.