Gas is the most immediate and sustainable option for reducing emissions.
International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2018 identifies two "clear winners" for the next 20 years, that will stop coal growth and meet global energy demand: natural gas and renewable sources, such as wind and solar.
Thanks to replacement of the most polluting fossil sources, worldwide gas demand is expected to grow by about 40% to 2040. IEA estimates that by 2030 natural gas will outpace coal to become the second largest fuel in the global energy mix.
C02 production and generation in Italy
Generation and emissions
Complete coal-to-gas switch would allow:
- an immediate 20% cut of emissions from the thermoelectric sector
- an efficient use of the thermoelectric plants already installed in Italy
- an increase in natural gas demand of about 13% (in 2018)
Source: Ispra, "Fattori di emissione per la produzione e il consumo di energia elettrica in Italia"
Worldwide commitment in fighting climate change
The fight against climate change has gained new impetus following the historic Paris agreement (December 2015), signed at the end of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The agreement promotes the transition to clean energy sources, so as to keep global warming below the threshold of 2 degrees centigrade, thus limiting polluting emissions and ensuring greater energy efficiency. The Paris agreement is a global action plan whose key elements are:
- holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels as a long-term objective
- pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C so as to significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change
- aiming to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible (recognizing that peaking will take longer for developing country Parties) and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with best available science.
The European Union was the first among the major economies to join the agreement and is already taking measures to implement its goal of reducing emissions by 40% to 2030 through the "Clean energy for all Europeans" package, which also provides for a 32.5% energy efficiency target and 32% renewable energy penetration.
Over a medium-long term horizon the EU is aspired to achieve even more challenging targets.
The EU has embraced the target to make Europe a climate-neutral continent by 2050, and the European Commission proposed an EU Climate Law that would make this a legally binding objective. In the Commission’s EU Green Deal communication, it concluded that greenhouse gas emission reduction goals for 2030 need to be increased from 40% to either 50% or 55% to achieve this goal. The European Parliament has indicated a preference for the latter target.
Indeed, in the “2050 long-term strategy” EU affirms its commitment to lead in global climate action and presents a vision that can lead to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a socially-fair transition in a cost-efficient manner. The goal of a low-emission energy system will be pursued by investing in realistic technological solutions, involving citizens and harmonizing interventions in key areas such as industrial policy, finance or research.
10 September 2020 - 14:09 CEST