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Global mitigation opportunities for the life cycle of natural gas-fired power

Over 100 countries pledged to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030 at COP26, but whether gas can serve as a bridge to lower-carbon options remains disputed. With an increasingly global supply chain, countries have different responsibilities in mitigation.

We determine the global average of life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from the delivery of gas-fired electricity to be 645 gCO2e kWh−1 (334–1,389 gCO2e kWh−1), amounting to 3.6 GtCO2e yr−1 in 2017 (10% of energy-related emissions). Deploying mitigation options can reduce global emissions from gas-fired power by 71% with carbon capture and storage, methane abatement, and efficiency upgrades contributing 43%, 12% and 5%, respectively.

Mitigation falls within national responsibilities, except an annual 20.5 MtCO2e of ocean transport emissions. For gas to truly be a bridge fuel, countries involved with the life cycle of gas-fired power need to deploy all mitigation options while balancing the risk of locking in carbon-intensive electricity.

S. M. Jordaan, A. W. Ruttinger, K. Surana, D. Nock, S. M. Miller, A. P. Ravikumar, Global mitigation opportunities for the life cycle of natural gas-fired power, Nature Climate Change (2022)

Kavita Surana

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