Natural gas is expected to overtake coal as the world’s second-largest energy source after oil by 2030, as more countries seek to curb the air pollution often caused by coal-fired power plants, as demand for electricity ramps up. The new prediction by the International Energy Agency in its longer-term outlook may justify a push by some of the world’s biggest energy majors to shift their businesses towards gas. Companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Repsol are investing more in lower-carbon businesses amid a global transition towards cleaner fuels. They are finding new markets for their gas, such as for power generation. Gas demand is expected to increase by almost half from today’s levels by 2040, according to the IEA’s new policies scenario, which takes into account current policy ambitions to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change.
FT 29th Nov 2018 read more »
The government must call off its support for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic if it is serious about its international commitments to protect the planet, MPs have warned. Human activity is already pushing the polar region to the brink, as melting sea ice allows heavily polluting ships to enter pristine habitats and nations eye up its precious natural resources. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet, and the resulting unusual weather patterns are already being felt in the UK – for example during this year’s “Beast from the East”. Despite these problems, the government has outlined the importance of fossil fuel companies’ continued exploration of the Arctic “for decades to come”. As the UN urges nations to take a drastically more ambitious approach to cutting emissions, the Environmental Audit Committee has warned that Britain’s position is incompatible with its obligations under the Paris climate agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Independent 29th Nov 2018 read more »
In late 2015, the UK’s last deep coal mine in North Yorkshire closed, bringing an end to centuries of high-volume coal mining in the country that had helped kick-start Britain’s Industrial Revolution. It is a transition that could be repeated in countries with large coal workforces such as China, Indonesia and South Africa, as the world shifts towards green energy sources to reduce pollution and limit rising global temperatures caused by climate change. Once-thriving coal towns in the Welsh valleys, such as Newport, which now imports coal into its port, still struggle with the impact of high levels of unemployment and poverty that resulted from the closure of coal mines in the 1980s and 1990s. The problem of coping with job losses and social dislocations created by such closures i s only going to become worse, with the International Energy Agency estimating that about 1m coal mining jobs could be lost by 2050 – representing about 20 per cent of the world’s current total.
FT 29th Nov 2018 read more »