the high environmental impact of LNG

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Westerners have been looking for ways to reduce their gas imports from Russia. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is presented as a fallback solution, but this alternative also comes with environmental costs.

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In order to limit its dependence on Russian gas, which currently accounts for 40% of Europe’s gas consumption, Europe is looking for alternatives. One of them is LNG, this natural gas that is converted into a liquid state to be transported by ship from Australia, Qatar or the United States. Asia currently accounts for more than 70% of global LNG demand. With the expansion of imports to Europe, the consequences for the environment will be serious.

>> Also read: LNG-powered ships would be more polluting than it seems

From the first stages of using liquefied natural gas, the energy footprint is larger than that of conventional natural gas. “The first question is where does this gas come from and how is it produced?asks Diane Strauss, head of the French office of the European Transport and Environment Organisation. If it comes from the United States, it will be shale gas with a heavier ecological footprint. And then you have to know that we use a lot of energy to liquefy the gas, the methane.”

More energy, but also release of methane into the air as this gas is transhipped more frequently between the exporting country and its destination. However, as said the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)IMethane released directly into the atmosphere is more than 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 20-year period. “These methane leaks will weigh on the environmental footprint [du GNL]emphasizes Diane Strauss.

“The LNG is transported by sea or truck. This is also part of the carbon footprint of this gas.”

Diane Strauss

at franceinfo

This possibility of partially resolving the current international energy crisis related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a short-term response, emphasizes Inès Bouacida, climate energy researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI): “We must not be derailed from our course and from real long-term solutions, which is to reduce energy demand and then use green energy such as renewable energy.” At the moment, LNG is the main alternative for heating homes next winter.

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