Although LNG will largely replace coal in the global energy mix, the forecast growth trajectory for CO2 emissions has been once again tied down to the oil and gas industry. These emissions are “far out of step” based on current scientific knowledge of what is required to tackle global climate change.
On Tuesday, Paris-based the International Energy Agency (IEA) disclosed by 2030, natural gas is expected to overtake coal as the world’s second largest energy source after oil; this trend can be attributed to growing awareness and drive to slash air pollution.
IEA’s forecast was part of its World Energy Outlook 2018 report. The IEA also foresees a spike in energy demand by more than a quarter between 2017 and 2040 assuming that there is more efficient use of energy. Without this assumption, the consumption of LNG is likely to rise by 100% more.
The report also foresees a dip in the global demand for gas by 1.6% every year to 2040 with their prices rising by 45% by 2040.
These forecasts base themselves on the IEA’s “New Policies Scenario” that takes into account legislation and policies to reduce emissions and fight climate change; they also assume more energy efficiencies in fuel use, buildings and other factors.
“Natural gas is the fastest growing fossil fuel in the New Policies Scenario, overtaking coal by 2030 to become the second-largest source of energy after oil,” reads report.
Emerging economies in Asia are likely to accounts for nearly 50% of the total global demand for LNG with LNG imports set to rise by 60% by 2040, said the report.
“Although talk of a global gas market similar to that of oil is premature, LNG trade has expanded substantially in volume since 2010 and has reached previously isolated markets”.
Incidentally, LNG involves cooling it to a liquid state so it can be safely transported.
The IEA sees the United States accounting for nearly 40% of the total global gas production by 2025, while other energy sources are likely to overtake the output of U.S. shale gas and its production in the U.S. is likely to flatten by then. This scenario is likely to happen since by then other nations are likely to turn to unconventional methods of gas production, including hydraulic fracking.
The global demand for electricity is set to rise by 2.1% a year, driven mostly by rising usage in developing economies. By 2040, electricity consumption is likely to account for a quarter of energy used by consumers and industry, said the IEA report.
In the energy mix, coal has been forecast to fall from its current 40% to 16% by 2040, with renewables swapping their place with it.
Carbon dioxide emissions from energy is likely to continue its growth trajectory, albeit at a slow pace to 2040. From 2017 levels, the IEA has predicted, CO2 emissions are likely to rise by 10% to 36 gigatonnes in 2040; the bulk of this growth can be attributed to oil and gas.
Significantly, this growth trajectory is “far out of step” with what scientific knowledge says would be required to tackle climate change, states the report.