A transition from coal-based energy to cleaner-burning gas has long been viewed as a staple of many climate action plans, despite concerns over leakage and possible harmful emissions.
A transition from coal-based energy to cleaner-burning gas has long been viewed as a staple of many climate action plans, despite concerns over leakage and possible harmful emissions. A recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change finds that not only is such a shift central to meeting climate targets and stabilizing global temperature rise, but that the benefits of cleaner-burning gas outweigh its possible risks.
Led by Katsumasa Tanaka, a senior climate risk researcher at the National Institute for Environmental Studies in Japan, the study examined global scenarios for transitioning from coal to gas using a novel approach that applied metrics developed for climate impact assessments to the coal-gas debate for the first time. Focusing on the world’s leading power generators—China, Germany, India, and the United States—the study examined the impacts from a variety of direct and indirect emissions of such a shift on both shorter and longer timescales ranging from a few decades to a century.
“Many previous studies were somewhat ambivalent about the climate benefits of the coal-to-gas shift,” said Tanaka. “Our study makes a stronger case for the climate benefits that would result from this energy transition, because we carefully chose metrics to evaluate the climate impacts in light of recent advances in understanding metrics.”
Read more at National Institute for Environmental Studies