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11 Nov 2022

Ruth Michaelson, The Guardian

COP27: Gas producers using conference to rebrand gas as transitional fuel, experts warn


"Gas producers using Cop27 to rebrand gas as transitional fuel, experts warn", 11 November 2022

Gas producers and their financial backers see Cop27 as an opportunity for discussions about rebranding natural gas as a transition fuel rather than a fossil fuel, experts have said.

The push is coming from the host Egypt and its gas-producing allies amid a global energy crisis compounded by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine...

Environmental experts caution that burning gas, a fossil fuel, risks increasing warming far beyond the target restriction of 1.5C required to prevent major environmental disruption.

Gas is less polluting to the climate than coal, but its production involves harmful methane, and leaks from infrastructure can cause large-scale pollution. In addition, experts such as the Washington DC-based Environmental Working Group warn that carbon capture risks delaying the essential transition away from fossil fuels, calling it a licence for the fossil fuel industry to keep polluting...

In the year since Cop26 in Glasgow, which included the launch of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, intended to “deliver a managed and just transition away from oil and gas production”, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Moscow’s decision to halt natural gas supplies to Europe have prompted a marked shift in global attitudes towards natural gas, laying the ground for discussions at Cop27 between world leaders and gas producers about whether gas should be viewed as a transition fuel and not a fossil fuel...

Representatives from countries most vulnerable to climate change were horrified by the potential push to promote natural gas at Cop27. “Anyone who’s read an IPCC or IEA report, or even their own energy bill for this winter, should know that investing in gas is the wrong choice. It’s the epitome of short-term gains for long-term losses. Renewables are already the frontrunner – that is the smart, clean, cheap investment today,” said John Silk, of the Marshall Islands, whose territory risks being partially submerged by rising oceans as soon as 2035.