Breaking free from fossil gas: a new path to a climate-neutral Europe

Breaking free from fossil gas: a new path to a climate-neutral Europe

An accelerated phase-out of fossil gas can strengthen Europe’s energy security and help reduce emissions faster, by up to 60% by 2030. Through structural demand reductions, the EU can halve the use of fossil gas this decade and phase it out of energy systems by 2050 while maintaining industrial production and ensuring security of supply, Agora’s EU Gas Exit Pathway shows.

Here are the key messages: 

  • Fossil gas, no longer cheap and abundant, cannot be used any more as a ‘bridge fuel’, away from coal or oil to clean technologies such as renewable energies. A reassessment of the European energy transition to 2050 is necessary given the impacts from the 2022 energy prices and security crises.
  • A faster decline in fossil gas use is feasible, less costly and delivers faster greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction. Agora’s EU Gas Exit Pathway shows fossil gas use in Europe can be halved by 2030 and completely phased out of energy systems by 2050 without disruptive behavioural changes, while maintaining industrial production at similar levels as today, and fully ensuring security of supply.
  • The energy transition can be achieved with significantly lower deployment of hydrogen, hydrogen derivatives and biomethane by 2030 than foreseen in the EU’s strategy to wean Europe off Russian fossil gas, the RePowerEU plan. It is much more cost-effective to prioritise direct use of renewable electricity and reserve hydrogen for no-regret applications where direct electrification is not an alternative in the industry, transport and power sectors.
  • This pathway relies on a fast scale-up of renewable energy capacity deployment and energy efficiency improvements, as well as electrification of applications in the buildings and industry sectors.
  • Through targeted measures, the EU could realistically overachieve its current 2030 climate target of 55% GHG emissions reductions relative to 1990 levels by up to 5%, aim for a new 2040 climate target of about 90% and meet its legally binding, 2050 climate-neutrality target.

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News published on Agora Energiewende.


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