The International Gas Union (IGU) today unveiled its recent publication, “Global Vision for Gas – The Pathway toward a Sustainable Energy Future” which describes the expanded role of natural gas in global energy supply for the twenty-first century.
The report is supported with a quantified Vision Pathway which outlines how natural gas will help achieve global economic development, improve air quality and public health, provide affordable clean energy, and sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
The report, launched by Datuk Dr Abdul Rahim Hashim, President of the International Gas Union (2009 – 2012 Triennium) at the opening of the World Gas Conference 2012 today, also calls for key policy enablers which will allow natural gas to increase its share of primary energy from around one fifth today to around one third by 2050.
“The displacement of coal and oil with natural gas in heat and power applications leads to immediate benefits of cleaner cities, clearer skies, and reduced CO2 emissions, especially in the fastest growing regions such as Asia Pacific which is currently heavily reliant on coal,” Datuk Rahim said.
Quantifiable Environmental and Economic Benefits
The IGU report demonstrates in quantitative measures that, first, the extended use of natural gas is a powerful enabler toward economic development and affordable energy, while at the same time it is an early step to moving in the direction of sustainability and climate change goals. Second, that continued growth of natural gas use into the longer-term is also consistent with development goals and a strict global greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions target.
Vision Pathway presents quantified patterns of global energy use to 2050 that is consistent with the threshold limit of a two degree Celsius increase in global temperatures recommended by the United Nations Environment Program. The reduction in overall energy use as a result of using more efficient natural gas and other demand reduction measures could reduce CO2 emissions in 2050 by 16 billion tons relative to business as usual.
While the substitution of coal and oil with natural gas in non-transport sectors, could reduce CO2 emissions in 2050 by 7 billion tons relative to business as usual. Additionally, the substitution of coal and oil with natural gas in the transport sector could reduce CO2 emissions in 2050 by 3 billion tons relative to business as usual.
The report also describes how direct employment in the global gas industry will rise to around 6 million people worldwide by 2050. The full number of jobs related to the gas industry, including ‘indirect’ and ‘induced’ jobs, will be around 24 million.
The Role for Policymakers
“Policymakers need to recognise the critical role that natural gas has to play alongside other low carbon options, and facilitate the appropriate enablers based on its set of unique circumstances,” Datuk Rahim Hashim said.
The report’s findings and recommendations are based on research undertaken by IHS-CERA. The report highlights the need for key policy enablers to realise the Vision Pathway, which include:
- Measures to allow the responsible development of unconventional gas internationally, so that it can supplement conventional gas supply.
- The promotion of infrastructure, especially in emerging and developing economies. Appropriate financing and regulatory incentives for infrastructure will be essential.
- The removal of energy subsidies, where possible, to help develop more gas to the overall benefit of the economy and local citizens.
- The development of biogas to create a carbon neutral and renewable source of global gas supply whose importance will need to grow substantially post 2030.
- The gradual inclusion of the cost of carbon in the provision of energy if policymakers wish to reduce GHG emissions substantially. Adoption of carbon pricing would allow industry to decide the optimal or lowest cost means of abatement, without requiring policymakers to pick favoured technologies or fuels. Natural gas would benefit from a system that places a value on its low carbon content.
- An enhanced focus on research and development.
A New Way Forward
In line with the IGU’s efforts to improve communications with stakeholders beyond the gas industry, including policymakers, international organisations and environmental groups; a new logo was commissioned.
“The logo repositions the key benefits and attributes of gas, designed to represent the energy, environmental qualities, stability, credibility and international dimension of natural gas,” Datuk Rahim Hashim said.
LNG World News Staff, June 04, 2012; Image: IGU