Reducing emissions around the world is essential to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
The challenge is great because demand for energy is growing as the world’s population increases, economies develop and we become more urbanised.
Renewable sources are rapidly growing but won’t be able to keep up with demand for many years yet, given they still only provide less than 15% of the world’s total energy.
So how is developing and using natural gas consistent with – and even helping – our climate goals?
- Natural gas is replacing higher-emitting sources of energy (like coal which has twice the emissions) around the world, helping nations lower their emissions.
- Natural gas enables renewable electricity by providing a reliable and affordable back-up for when demand is high and supply can’t keep up.
- New gases with low or zero emissions are being developed that could use the existing natural gas infrastructure, like biogases and hydrogen.
- New technologies like carbon capture storage are being adopted.
- Less oil is likely to be used in future for petrol as electric vehicles become more popular and affordable.
- There are, however, countless uses of oil and gas in everyday products like clothing, plastics and medical products which release no emissions.
- Where there are no realistic or affordable alternatives yet to using oil or natural gas (e.g. air travel) this can be offset with tree planting.
- Emissions are priced through the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which creates a financial incentive to lower emissions and develop new technologies.
The energy industry strongly supports reducing our emissions and we think the Emissions Trading System (ETS) is by far the best way to do this. By putting a direct price on emissions, it creates an incentive for people to lower emissions in the most affordable way.
If we get the ETS right, very few other policies will be needed to meet our climate goals.
You can find out more about these issues in this publication “A Changing Role: The Future of Oil and Gas in a Lower Carbon World.”