EU clarifies fossil fuel stance: ‘No lock-in into natural gas’

(EurActiv, 24 Jan 2020) When European Union leaders signed off on a pledge to reach “climate neutrality” by 2050, they also eventually rang the death knell of the natural gas industry as we know it.

But that won’t mean the end of gas, far from it. By 2050, “clean gases” – mainly hydrogen and biomethane – could make up between 30% and 70% of total gas use, according to EU projections.

The challenge, therefore, is to make sure investments made today are future-proof and do not lock Europe into climate-wrecking fossil gas, said Florian Ermacora, a senior official at the European Commission’s energy directorate.

“It’s clear that, if we want to go for a carbon neutral Europe in 2050, natural gas will not be able to do the job of decarbonisation,” the official told a Brussels event earlier this week, which focused on the role of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in a zero-emission economy.

“Yes, we need gas, but we also need to think about how to effectively decarbonise gas,” he told delegates at the event, supported by the Florence School of Regulation and GasNaturally, an industry campaign group.

The EU’s 2050 climate neutrality goal also means that “we cannot rely for decades on imports of natural gas,” the official continued, suggesting that Russia, Norway and the US would need to conform gas exports to EU rules.

“Any investment which is done now, including new LNG facilities, needs to put this question: is this decarbonisation-fit?” Ermacora said.

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EurActiv, 24 Jan 2020: EU clarifies fossil fuel stance: ‘No lock-in into natural gas’