Climate campaigners disappointed with Advisory Council's advice on natural gas  

Latest evidence shows that natural gas has no role in the low carbon transition

September 23 2019, 02:17pm

Stop Climate Chaos welcomes the Government's announcement at the UN Climate Change Summit in New York that it intends to end oil exploration in Irish waters. This announcement is in response to recommendations from the Climate Change Advisory Council, and will make an important, timely contribution to global efforts to ratchet up ambition on climate action. 

However, the Coalition is disappointed that the Council has advised that the continued exploration and recovery of gas be part of Ireland's transition to a low carbon future. In a letter sent last week to the Council, this Coalition urged the Council to base their policy recommendations on the latest scientific evidence and assessment which clearly shows that:

  • Ongoing extraction and use of gas will result in emissions levels not consistent with the scale of scale of emissions reductions required,
  • Ongoing extraction and use of gas will necessitate the large-scale deployment of carbon capture and storage, which itself is speculative and highly risky,
  • New gas infrastructure built between now and 2035 risk becoming stranded assets, with clear economic and environmental costs,
  • Scaling up dependency on gas supply – which is limited and rapidly depleting  – in Ireland presents very serious security-of-supply concerns for Ireland’s energy system. It also slows down the scale and speed through which we decarbonise the energy system.

Catherine Devitt, Head of Policy with the Coalition, commented, 

"Science is clearly telling us that we must urgently undertake a rapid and fair transition to a fully decarbonised economy. The latest scientific assessments are also showing us that fossil gas has no role to play in the transition to a zero carbon future."

"The idea of usingfossil gas as a bridging fuel in the transition to a low carbon economy is no longer credible. Gas is not clean, is not cheap and further investment presents considerable climate and financial risks going forward, especially as the cost of renewables continue to fall." 

"The UN Summit in New York is about achieving the level of ambitious action that the scale of the crisis requires. In fact, the level of ambition needs to be tripled. This means we must urgently phase out existing gas and other fossil fuel use as an imperative to delivering on the Paris Agreement." 

"The logical, common sense approach would see sustained investment in renewable energy, energy storage, and energy efficiency ahead of more gas. Whilst ending further oil exploration is action in the right direction, a more ambitious policy would have aligned with the science and extended this to gas."