Britain must get rid of fossil-based natural gas in the coming three decades if the country is to meet its long-term climate change objectives, according to a report published by think-tank Bright Blue. The report, ‘Pressure in the pipeline: decarbonising the UK’s gas’, says demand for natural gas in the heat sector must diminish, and calls for government incentives to boost the supply of low-carbon gases.
Natural gas combustion is responsible for around 35% of the UK’s total global warming emissions. And of half of those emissions are associated with gas use in the heating sector, it points out, meaning deeper decarbonisation is necessary if Britain is to meet its current climate goals and aim for net-zero emissions by 2050 as envisaged at EU level.
“UK gas must be completely decarbonised during the coming three decades if this country is to meet its current and likely future legal emissions reduction target,” said Wilf Lytton, senior researcher at Bright Blue. This means “natural gas will need to be almost entirely eliminated from the networks by 2050, if not earlier.”
The report stops short of calling for an outright ban on fossil-based natural gas, saying a preferred route is to create a market for low-carbon gases instead. With the right incentives, the government can eventually “end the UK’s dependency on natural gas,” the think-tank affirms.