Well, They Did Say “Golden Age,” Not “Green Age”
Today the International Energy Agency released a report heralding the “golden age” of natural gas, a scenario in which global use of gas rises by more than 50 percent from 2010 levels and accounts for more than a quarter of global energy demand by 2035. The report is quick to note that while natural gas is cleaner than coal and oil, it “is far from enough on its own to put the world on a carbon emissions path consistent with a global temperature rise of no more than 2 degrees Celsius.” International Energy Agency Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka put it bluntly: “An expansion of gas use alone is no panacea for climate change,” In fact, “its increased use could muscle out low-carbon fuels, such as renewables and nuclear – particularly in the wake of the incident at Fukushima and the likelihood of a reduced role for nuclear in some countries.”
As the Guardian points out, the current predictions “would lead the world to a 3.5C temperature rise. At such a level, global warming could run out of control, deserts would take over in southern Africa, Australia and the western U.S., and sea level rises could engulf small island states.”
For more cheery news from the Interrnational Energy Agency, read Prospect of limiting the global increase in temperature to 2ºC is getting bleaker.