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International Energy Agency: Natural gas enthusiasm threatens to hinder effective solutions to climate change

06 Jun 2011  |   Emma Brown

Tags: Climate Change

Natural gas threatens to derail effective solutions to climate change according to an IEA report released on Monday. The report, which focuses on the possibility that global natural gas usage will increase more than 50% from 2010 levels to provide as much as a quarter of the world’s energy demand by 2025, cautions that natural gas may not be a “panacea” to solving global climate change.

While natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel, it still produces harmful emissions similar to those from gasoline and coal. The IEA estimates that long-term continued growth in the natural gas industry will lead to global temperatures increasing by as much as 3.5° C.

In addition to producing carbon pollution, natural gas threatens to divert needed government attention and investment away from other long-term clean energy alternatives explained IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka at a London press conference. "While natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel, it is still a fossil fuel. Its increased use could muscle out low-carbon fuels such as renewable and nuclear, particularly in the wake of Fukushima. An expansion of gas use alone is no panacea for climate change,” Tanaka said. 

In a separate report released in May, the IEA found that greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise between 2008-2010, by as much as 5%.

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