Jun 24, 2019 | Updated: 08:43 AM EDT

More Natural Gas May Mean A Bigger Climate Disaster

Jun 10, 2019 09:23 AM EDT

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The policies to help governments deal with the advent of climate is highly dependent on expert opinion and its evolution is happening so fast. Sadly, the opinion of those making the policies couldn't quite keep up with the change. One of the areas that seem to have found itself in the gray area is the role that natural gas plays in producing clean energy for a better tomorrow.

On one hand, some experts feel that the use of natural gas remains to be the better option to reduce the burning of fossil fuels that seem to make the climate conditions worse. Natural gas was seen as the best substitute for coal. In fact, the US government referred to it's as the "bridge fuel," at least to bridge the gap between the need for cleaner energy resource and the actual discovery of a better alternative.

Up to this day, there are still people who support the concept of natural gas and how it helps moderate the road to finally overcoming global warming. Sadly, this idea of the use of natural gas has brought the fight to end climate change to a dead end. If the world is aimed at meeting the climate targets that have been set in the Paris agreement, they must give up the use of natural gas such as coal and consider a total phase-out of such alternative. The experts believe that there is no need to bridge the gap as the cleaner energy alternatives are now ready for use.

So what makes the use of natural gas a climate disaster? Here are the top reasons why it is not the perfect "bridge" or alternative:

  • The leaking of methane gas in every step in the production of energy from the burning of natural gas. Methane is considered a greenhouse gas when leaked can have an enormous impact on the climate. While natural gas itself is not as carbon-intensive as that of coal, the methane that is produced in the process may wipe out all of the advantages that come with using natural gas.

  • The use of natural gas will only break the carbon"budget" that the country has set for itself to meet the agreement signed in Paris. There is just too much carbon content in natural gas that the continued use of it would make the country go beyond the limit it has set for itself.

  • Shutting down the coal-fired power plants and putting up natural gas plants may help reduce the production of greenhouse gases in the process. However, the emissions won't be down to zero and it doesn't look like it would go down to zero just in time to meet the requirements set in the Paris agreement.

What makes this problem far worse is the fact that the efforts, no matter how genuinely good they are, may not be able to meet the world's energy needs, not even halfway. Perhaps in our desire to find an alternative, we have forgotten that there is another side to this story -- the reduction not of the energy use, but of the energy need. Reducing the need for energy will help reduce consumption significantly.

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