Accelerated decarbonisation commands ever more gas
Current renewables technologies cannot decisively accelerate decarbonization – gas can
While the ‘young generation’ (‘Fridays for Future’ and others) is taking court action in order to accelerate decarbonization, it runs the risk of a severe financial burden and subsequent negative social impact thanks to ideologically misguided efforts at decarbonizing.
According to the International Energy Agency, half the technologies needed to achieve net-zero carbon beyond 2030 are only at the research and development stage.
The renewables technologies deployed today are extremely costly, harm the environment and, in some cases, potentially also human health3. In any event, they are not adequate to bring net-zero carbon about.
In the meanwhile, we do have natural gas – the ‘low hanging fruit’ capable of substantially reducing CO24 before it is replaced by non-fossil gases over time: bio methane, synthetic gas and hydrogen.
After the recent decision of the German Constitutional Court5 qualifying German climate protection legislation beyond 2030 as insufficient, German politicians, with an eye on federal elections in September, are competing for the most ambitious net-zero carbon headlines without defining the concrete and realistic measures needed to achieve the targets. More renewables expansion is promised – but again with no hard numbers on the quantity of CO2 emissions these would cut.
The German Minister of the Economy boldly stated that Germany aspires to become the ‘global leader’ in hydrogen. A decade behind South-Korea and Japan, Germany’s real problem with the development of a substantial hydrogen market will be its ideological insistence on ‘green’ hydrogen.
Cutting CO2 emissions using more gas faster now will leave the ‘young generation’ with a manageable residual carbon budget.
In this context, it is gratifying that Nord Stream 2, after the German-American accord, is well on its way towards commercial operability. Shifting 55bn m³/yr of Russian gas away from the aged Ukrainian transit system yields an instant cut of 11mn metric tons/yr of CO2 emissions.
The facts and numbers presented below are meant to underscore the author’s approach of putting (realistic) pragmatism over (unrealistic) ideology.
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