Natural gas can help solve climate change, industry reminds policymakers


The energy industry wants policy makers to remember that natural gas can and should be part of the solution in solving climate change, executives said at a conference on Tuesday.“The most important thing to continue to impress upon the policymakers is natural gas can and should be a big part of the climate change solutions,” Michele Harradence, SVP and chief operations officer gas transmission and midstream at Canadian energy firm Enbridge Inc, said at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek.

She noted gas has already “done a lot to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in North America. It is an excellent compliment to renewable energy and provides low cost reliable backup needed to support growth of renewable infrastructure.”

In the United States, carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels fell in 2020 to its lowest since 1983 as coal-fired power plants retired and were replaced by gas-fired generators and renewable electric sources, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Harradence noted that building more gas infrastructure does not lock in emissions over the long term since “We can blend hydrogen and renewable natural gas into the gas stream and that helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Another speaker on the CERAWeek Gas & The Decarbonization Agenda panel, Andy Calitz, deputy secretary-general of the International Gas Union (IGU) trade group, said one of the most important things global major economic powers could do is adopt a carbon tax.

Calitz said the “amazingly cold winter in the northern hemisphere … will impress upon governments … that a careful balance needs to be struck between energy security and climate risk … because the stakes are so enormously high.”

Calitz and other executives on the panel noted gas can provide that energy security and help reduce carbon emissions from burning other fossil fuels like coal and oil.

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