18 Sep 2019, 12:23
Julian Wettengel

Switch from coal and oil to gas increases greenhouse effect due to methane emissions – study

Clean Energy Wire

The switch from coal-fired power generation and oil-fired heating to natural gas increases the greenhouse effect of energy supply by around 40 percent due to methane emissions, writes the Berlin-based scientists’ network Energy Watch Group (EWG) in a study. "Due to its high methane footprint, natural gas is not a climate-friendly alternative to other fossil energies and therefore is no bridge technology as part of a transition to a zero-emission energy system," says the study. It is based on recent research on methane and carbon dioxide emissions from the entire supply chain, and the climate impact was evaluated in light of the 20-year horizon relevant for potential climate tipping points, writes the EWG.

Gas is often seen as a bridging fuel for the energy transition, but the advantage of natural gas is still hard to estimate in terms of climate change. It not only emits CO₂ when burned, but is mainly composed of methane, making it a climate-harmful greenhouse gas itself. Methane has a much higher global warming potential than carbon dioxide. The volume of methane leakages in gas production around the globe continues to be heatedly debated.

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