Ukraine War could mean a new gas ‘gold rush’

Researchers claim this will lead to a state of ‘irreversible’ global warming

Big Zero Report 2023

In the frantic spree to replace Russian gas with new independent infrastructure, the world could be locked into ‘irreversible warming’.

That’s according to new analysis by Climate Action Tracker (CAT), revealing that more governments are considering building independent fossil fuel structures to wean off Russian gas, than building renewable projects – calling this the gas ‘gold rush’.

The report states that Germany, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands are planning for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities – meaning a quarter more gas projects would exist in these countries than before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Fighting Russian aggression with new fossil fuel infrastructure will have perilous impacts on net zero targets and the environment, the analysts stress.

UN Secretary General António Guterres said when the Ukraine War began that if it becomes a reason for more fossil fuels, this would be ‘mutually assured destruction’.

Europe is not the only region considering a jump in gas production, with Canada, the US, Algeria, Qatar and Egypt all signing new export deals across the globe.

The report states that old gas plants are being revived in Africa, with countries that previously never exported gas, such as Senegal, now encouraged to supply gas to Europe.

Niklas Höhne, a Partner of CAT, said: “We’re about to witness a global ‘gold rush’ for new fossil gas production, pipelines and LNG facilities, risking locking us into another high-carbon decade and keeping the Paris Agreement’s 1.5˚C warming limit out of reach.”

Increasing renewable energy, energy efficiency measures and encouraging the growth of public transport industries have been the key points that the report suggests policymakers follow – as opposed to returning to fossil fuels.

Bill Hare, another CAT Partner, added: “The world missed the massive opportunity it had to use the post-pandemic recovery packages to support decarbonisation of their economies – and now it seems this will happen all over again, with this new crisis.

“Something has to change. We cannot go on responding to short term shocks, be they pandemics or energy shocks from conflict, by taking steps that would increase emissions, ignoring the looming crisis of climate change.”

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