EASAC’s new report “The Future of Gas” examines phasing out the use of natural gas and replacing it with sustainable energy solutions. The report also offers independent science-based advice for policy makers on regulating the use of gaseous fuels in the transition to a decarbonized, secure and affordable European Union (EU) energy system by 2050.

The report “Future of Gas” by The European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) highlights the extremely high global warming potential of largely unrecorded methane leakages along the whole natural gas supply chain. Natural gas is not cleaner than other fossil fuels – using it instead of coal or oil risks achieving little or no reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) effects. According to the report, policymakers, finance sector and energy suppliers and users should work together to secure adequate supplies of clean energy while rapidly phasing out the use of natural gas, together with other fossil fuels.

The report has been prepared in collaboration with the EASAC’s 28 member academies. The Council of Finnish Academies appointed Professor Hanna-Leena Pesonen from University of Jyväskylä to the EASAC energy panel and LUT University Research Director Petteri Laaksonen to the report working group.

“The war of aggression started by Russia and the subsequent EU sanctions have further increased the availability risks related to natural gas as imported energy, which has made the subject even more critical than anticipated. The perspectives related to the replacement of natural gas and the report’s recommendations are essential for the Finnish energy system as well”, Hanna-Leena Pesonen states.

High priority messages for the EU policymakers, investors and stakeholders

EASAC’s messages for EU policymakers, investors and other stakeholders address three key dimensions of policies for the future of gas: GHG emissions reduction, security of energy supplies and affordability. Some of the report’s messages relate to an on-going discussion as the European Commission has already made a proposal to address procedures related to the use of natural gas.

The report highlights six high-priority messages. The first measure raised is improving energy efficiency by reducing energy demands in buildings, industry and transport. Secondly, building more renewable electricity generators and electricity supply infrastructure can help to phase out unbated natural gas, together with coal and oil. To ensure energy security in EU, the EU should produce sustainable technologies and diversity supplies of critical raw materials and sustainable fuels.

The report also highlights the importance of a ban on installing new gas boilers in buildings due to their high consumption of natural gas. Instead of the boilers, the report recommends switching to heat pumps with renewable electricity or district heating. Finally, the report proposes measures to support vulnerable households and businesses with high energy bills, and retrain and expand the EU workforce to produce and install sustainable energy technologies and fuels.

Read the full report here: https://easac.eu/publications/details/future-of-gas

The European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) is a cooperation organization of European science academies. The Council of Finnish Academies (CoFA) is a national member of EASAC.