* First posted 8/12/2018
Natural gas is necessary for the post-lignite era.
K. Hatzidakis Minister of Environment & Energy
We do not have the time for a slow, gradual policy. Emergency action is the only sane response to the escalating climate impacts.
Times demand leaps and immediate change of course, but we are trying to build on dangerous bridges.
During the last few years the promoted answer to our energy problems is the use of natural gas as a bridge fuel, in order to gradually move to renuable sources. But as we read in Giannis Papadimitiou text, from the event-discussion entitled: What does hydrocarbon extraction mean? :
"In the general discussion, as a rule, some dimensions are absent:
• that natural gas may be “friendlier” than oil but not “friendly”
• there is a difference between using gas for heating and the use for energy production or in the industry where it has efficiency losses of about 70%.
• that for its exploitation it needs to be compressed and so constant danger of explosions lurk in the facilities it is stored, with many examples internationally (the most deadly is the gas explosion in Ufa, Siberia with 600 dead in 1989, that was shadowed though by Chernobil).
• that its basic ingedient, methane, in case of leakage, causes a temperature rise 23 times greater than the corresponding amount of carbon dioxide.
• that leaks are usual in fracking, a non conventional extraction method of natural gas enclosed in shale rocks, and and usually enters the agenda after the depletion of conventional deposits. Fracking is by far the most destructive method of extraction and although it made the US a hydrocarbon exporter again, after many decades, but it has severelly polluted several Midwestern states.
• and finally, that the control of the production, transport, distributin and price of natural gas, belongs to intransparent speculative giants."
So natural gas maybe promoted as a cleaner fuel but it still is a fossil fuel. The scientific community is clear that we must at all costs stop mining and burning fossil fuels immediately if we want our planet to remain habitable.
According to a recent UNEP study entitled Production Gap Report (http://productiongap.org/) on the difference between the goal for a sustainable planet and the goals for fossil fuel production, if plans for new mining go ahead, means we are producing 120% and 50% more fossil fuels by 2030 than we should to reduce global warming to 1.5 ° C or 2 ° C, respectively.
We remind you that at the moment we are at +1 ° C and the extreme phenomena, with all that entails, are already here.
The IMF released an analysis in 2015 estimating the real cost of fossil fuels to humanity. The analysis concluded that every year the fossil fuel companies are subsidized by all of us with 5.3 trillion dollars or $ 10 million a minute every day!
The amount is equivalent to 6.5% of world GDP and is higher than what all the governments of the world spend on health. This is mainly due to the fact that polluters do not pay a penny for the costs incurred by governments due to the burning of hydrocarbons. These costs include the damages caused to the local population by air pollution as well as to people around the world from floods, droughts and storms triggered by climate change. Inexhaustible deposits ... of social irresponsibility (Journal of the Authors 06.03.2017)
Around the world, the fossil fuel industry is grabbing onto fossil gas as its lifeline, making the false claim that it is a ‘climate solution,’ and trying to rapidly scale up the construction of new fossil gas infrastructure. As the gas industry has been gaining momentum in the last decades, so have geopolitical conflicts around gas projects. This comes after a long history of oil conflict and extractivist neo-colonial practises triggered by the prospect of oil and gas exploration.
Walk along the route of the proposed EastMed pipeline to see how gas is fueling climate change, militarisation and oppression in the Eastern Mediterranean region.