“We no longer have the luxury of using gas as a clean fuel,” Jackson said. “It’s cleaner than coal, but dirtier than most everything else we use today.”
The plan, approved Wednesday by European lawmakers, will allow investment in natural gas infrastructure such as natural gas power plants and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to be considered green investments under certain conditions. Natural gas is a fossil fuel that causes warming of the Earth when it is burned and even more warming when it leaks out unburned.
It comes at a time when the continent is struggling to maintain a reliable gas supply and consumers are suffering from painfully high energy prices. Russia, which supplied about 40% of the EU’s gas before it invaded Ukraine, has reduced the flow of gas to Europe and could make even more draconian cuts, and nations throughout Europe have been scrambling for alternatives to Russian energy.
“This…makes sense only as a death knell for coal,” said Rob Jackson, professor of earth system science at Stanford University. “Otherwise, it’s baffling. We’re approaching 8 billion tons of carbon dioxide pollution a year from gas use alone, and that can’t continue.”
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