Gas: a broken bridge between coal and green energies

Everything indicates that renewable energies will dominate before the thought


El gas: un puente roto entre el carbón y las energías verdes

While the energy matrix of the world is changing as governments close the doors to fossil fuels, everything indicates that renewable energies will dominate sooner than previously thought. Countries such as France announce that vehicles by the year 2030 will be powered by electric motors. China, for its part, affirms through its prime minister, Li Keqiang, that "our words have weight and our actions must be successful", referring to the commitments made by the Asian giant at COP 21 in France in 2015.

China consumes the same amount of coal as the rest of the world. For this reason, it is from relevant to indispensable that your government takes the necessary measures to "curb your addiction to coal," as mentioned by Isabel Hilton, founder of Chinadialogue; it is in this way that the largest contributor of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere committed to reducing its consumption by 60% by 2020, setting the tone for the world.

Despite Trump's decision to ignore climate change and avoid reducing the CO2 contributions of the second largest emitting country on the planet, states like California have been dedicated to assess and implement changes in the energy matrix firmly.

A quarter of the energy required by California is generated through an energy basket composed of renewable or non-conventional energies. Solar, wind and geothermal electricity combine to produce 25% of the energy required by that US state while a third is produced from gas. Only 10% of California's energy is produced through hydroelectric plants, an increasingly uncertain source of energy due to the lack of regularity in rainfall year after year. The use of new sources of energy in 2017 grew in that state by 10% compared to the previous year.

However, there are countries that consider that the transition to leave behind the use of fuels must be done slowly, drawing a bridge between coal and the so-called green energies through a balance: the use of coal decreases, the use of gas increases and they are implementing non-conventional energies such as solar, wind, tidal, or geothermal, among others.

This formula, which aims to make traffic slow, due to the need of investing large amounts in initial resources and the high cost of energy storage systems, such as batteries, seems to be being distorted and the need to rethink it is evident.

The reduction in emissions between coal and gas is minimal, almost non-existent. While it is true that moving away from coal represents a major step forward in terms of the slowdown in global warming due to the reduction of emissions, the exploitation of gas contributes generously to climate change thanks to the constant leakage of methane CH4, which is 96 times more powerful as a greenhouse effect that the same CO2.

Policies such as those adopted by California, which obliges electricity suppliers to design plans with the purpose of meeting established goals, is a great example of how it can be migrated from 19th century fuel to 21st century fuels. The state government set the route, committing itself to reducing CO2 emissions by 40% compared to 1990, and that its sources of electricity production were at least 50% by 2030.

In the case of Colombia, the multinational giant BHP Billiton shareholder of El Cerrejón, a mine that has caused major environmental impacts in the north of the South American country, has announced its intention to withdraw from the World Coal Association for disagreeing with the route that that guild continues pretending in the world in spite of the announcement of more than 20 countries to stop consuming that polluting fuel.

 

 

Latin American Post | Alberto Castaño Camacho
Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda

 

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