According to leading experts and other parties in the energy sector, natural gas is indispensable for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the short and medium term. At first sight this appears contradictory — implying that the more natural gas we burn, the lower the CO2 emissions will be. The explanation for this ‘gas paradox’ lies in the fact that consuming natural gas releases considerably less CO2 than when we burn coal or oil. Therefore, replacing coal and oil with natural gas, where it is possible and meaningful to do so, reduces total emissions from energy consumption.
Gas itself, the product, is also being ‘greened’: green gas, produced from organic materials, is a fully-fledged replacement for natural gas and is also CO2-neutral. Sustainably produced hydrogen, from wind for example, is also showing promise as an addition to or a substitute for natural gas. These gas ‘benefits’ form the basis for GasTerra’s energy transition and sustainability policy. We focus on society’s concerns and gas’s role within the solution to the energy problem: safety, security of supply, affordability, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and improvement in air quality. We advocate considering a range of measures including stringent energy savings, promotion of renewable energy sources, particularly green gas, technological innovation, legally binding emissions ceilings and reinforcement of gas’s competitive position. We are aware that in future gas will have a different position in the energy mix than it has today. We therefore believe that gas should only be used where sustainable alternatives are less attractive. In other words, gas will become customised: Gas by Design. In practice, this will mean establishing priorities among the resources that we can use to reduce emissions. The gas sector has devised a special multi-stage plan for this purpose, the Ladder of Seven. One of the results of this approach is that natural gas extracted in the Netherlands, provided that this can be produced safely, is preferable to imported gas.
In this context we put the emphasis on promising gas applications; in the built environment and in the transport sector. Introducing LNG for shipping and road transport and CNG for cars, for example, could achieve large-scale reductions in highly polluting emissions and CO2 emissions. We would also like to see an effective reform of the European emission trading system in order to improve the current fragile position of gas within centralised electricity generation.
We seek to engage in dialogue and cooperation with other stakeholders such as the government, politicians, scientists, educators, think tanks, NGOs and businesses, stressing that we are in agreement on the aims: a climate-neutral, secure and affordable energy supply. We are convinced that using natural gas efficiently will make a substantial contribution towards solving the energy and climate issue; for the time being we can’t manage without gas.