New call to end gas use by 2035

As governments gather in Bonn for the UN Climate Change Conference, research issued today warns the world needs to exit the use of fossil fuels as early as 2035.

The report, “Fossil gas: a bridge to nowhere” has been published by research organisation Climate Analytics and warns the use of gas in electricity generation, needs to cease rapidly after coal, It adds this needs to be as early as 2035 in rich countries, and by 2040 for the rest of the world – to keep the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit in reach.

Climate Analytics said the aim of the research was to examine when different regions need to phase out fossil gas electricity generation to be 1.5°C compatible. At the global level, it shows that the decline in fossil gas electricity generation should start immediately and fall to just 15% of total global electricity generation by 2030 to reach very low levels by 2035.

“Our analysis shows very starkly that fossil gas cannot be a transition fuel. Phase-out in all regions is at most 5-10 years after coal, much too short for investments in gas expansion to be cost-effective and avoid stranding,” said lead author Claire Fyson, who leads mitigation pathway analysis at Climate Analytics.

The organisation said its findings are based on 1.5°C emissions pathways assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which are designed to show the most cost-effective way to limit warming to 1.5°C.

“Developed countries will need to phase out gas first, to fall below 10% of total electricity generation by 2030, and effectively be phased out by 2035,” the report stated. “For developing countries, the share of fossil gas generation will need to fall to below 10% by 2035, and be phased out by the early 2040s. Developing countries will require financial, technical and, depending on the circumstances, transitional support from developed countries to shift to renewable energy systems at pace.”

Ut added while there is growing consensus among governments on the need for coal phase-out, fossil gas has largely flown under the radar. Many governments are responding to the current energy crisis by planning for new gas infrastructure to replace Russian supplies.

“Gas use needs to be declining now, there’s no two ways about it. Supporters of gas present it as the ‘cleaner’ alternative to coal and a ‘bridging fuel’ on the way to renewables – but the gap just doesn’t exist anymore. Renewables and storage are the cheapest forms of power on the planet,” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics.

The UNCC event will end on Thursday and UN Climate Change executive secretary Patricia Espinosa has warned delegates that action needs to be taken urgentkly I the run up to COP27 in Egypt later this year.

“We urgently require political-level interventions and decisions in each of these areas in order to achieve a balanced package. Doing so will send a clear message to the world that we are headed in the right direction,” she said. “Because the world is going to have one question in Sharm El-Sheikh: what progress have you made since Glasgow?”

Espinosa warned that climate change is progressing exponentially. With the world currently on track to more than double the 1.5 Celsius goal of the Paris Agreement by the end of the century, ambition must urgently be raised to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and immediate action and progress in Bonn are needed.

“We must move these negotiations along more quickly,” she added. “The world expects it. They know that while nations made a commitment to meeting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degrees C goal, that commitment entailed accelerated action and increased climate ambition.  It is not acceptable to say that we are in challenging times, they know that climate change is not an agenda we can afford to push back on our global schedule.”

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