Europe risks €87 billion in stranded fossil gas assets, report reveals

(EurActiv, 9 Apr 2021) Europe is already building or planning to build €87 billion worth of fossil gas infrastructure in a continued expansion of pipelines and LNG terminals, despite the need to halve emissions by 2030, according to a new report published on Thursday (8 April).

Fossil gas consumption needs to decline 36% from 2020 to 2030, according to the European Commission, but the planned public and private investment would see an increase of 35% from the current import capacity.

If the investment plans are implemented, the EU risks locking itself into a more polluting future or wasting billions on infrastructure, like pipelines, which have a lifespan of around 50 years, warns the report by the think tank Global Energy Monitor.

“The EU’s ambitious climate targets require gas consumption to drop sharply by 2030 and continue dropping through 2050. So the EU is likely to overshoot its ambitious climate targets –or to wind up spending billions of euros on gas infrastructure that isn’t needed,” said Mason Inman, lead report author and oil and gas programme director at Global Energy Monitor.

Natural gas – or methane – is often viewed as the transition energy in the EU for coal-reliant countries to shift to renewables, but it still produces CO2 when burnt. Methane leaks are also considerably more damaging to the atmosphere than CO2 in the short term.

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EurActiv, 9 Apr 2021: Europe risks €87 billion in stranded fossil gas assets, report reveals