Post-pandemic gas revival may threaten climate change targets

The pandemic recovery might not be all positive, at least not for the environment. Reuters reports that the International Energy Agency has warned that a resurgence in gas demand after the pandemic could jeopardize the goal of global net-zero emissions by 2050. A forecast increase in gas consumption of 3.6 percent for 2021 could not only negate the decline in 2020, but even continue to grow, “according to the IEA.

Demand is expected to decline to 1.7 percent between 2022 and 2024, but that would still be too steep to stay on track, the IEA said.

However, that does not mean that the Paris Agreement and other goals are lost goals. The IEA believed that projects approved or underway prior to the pandemic could contain these emissions. The agency also suggested the gas industry could help by reducing methane leaks, which are contributing to climate change.

There are positive signs. Renewable energies are overtaking fossil fuels in some countries, and automakers are increasingly committing to all-electric models over the next few years. Nevertheless, the IEA report gives these measures a sense of urgency. Humanity may need to curb its eagerness to restore normalcy and focus on green technologies, at least if it is to avoid replacing one global problem with another.

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