Fossil gas phase-down
Fossil gas has traditionally been heralded as a transition fuel on the road to net-zero emissions. Yet, with the climate crisis growing ever more urgent and suitable renewables alternatives on the doorstep, economies will need to rapidly phase down fossil gas uses across all sectors to meet climate neutrality goals.
In the power sector, renewable energies coupled with storage systems such as batteries are already cost-competitive with fossil-fuel technologies in many countries around the world. In a rapidly accelerating climate crisis, investments in new fossil gas infrastructure will likely become stranded and could also crowd out necessary investments into the build-out of renewable energies.
Phasing-down gas use in energy demand sectors can largely be achieved through improved energy efficiency and direct electrification, including for example through large-scale heat pumps and resistance heaters in industrial applications. Where direct electrification is technically not possible, fossil gas can be replaced by renewable hydrogen and its derivatives.
A broader coordination on limiting dependence on fossil fuels is indispensable for making the transition affordable and maintaining security of supply. At the same time, ensuring that transition instruments continue to be socially sound is paramount for safeguarding public support and a just transition.
The climate crisis requires a fundamental rethinking of our supply chains and basic infrastructure needs, especially in the most energy-intensive sectors. While countries across the globe are working towards limiting the most polluting fuels, the EU is implementing complementary policy packages that seek to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, which will require the gradual phasing out of all fossil fuel usage. To accelerate the fossil gas phase-down in Germany and Europe, Agora contributes to related policy processes through practical and evidence-based analyses on topics such as increased energy efficiency in buildings or the design of complementary social measures. In rapidly growing economies of the Global South, Agora works to highlight how net-zero commitments are poised to fundamentally modify the role of fossil gas and its industries – and to prepare the ground for a change in the current narrative on the role of gas as a bridging fuel.