Climate goals would slash long-term EU natural gas demand

Chief Europe Correspondent
Source: E3G, European Commission Impact Assessment • Figures are based on achieving climate change goals of reducing greenhouse emissions by 55% compared to 1990s levels. Baseline year is 2015.

The European Commission said Tuesday that fully implementing existing energy and climate proposals would lower European Union gas consumption 30% by 2030.

The official guidance was released to help EU countries find ways to reduce dependency on Russian gas considering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a key conduit of gas between Russia and the EU bloc.

The EU is highly dependent on the fossil fuel, not just from Russia but from around the world. The bloc imports 90% of its gas consumption, particularly for household heating.

Even before the current energy security crisis, the EU had begun to work on the European Green Deal to shed fossil fuels and become the world’s first climate neutral continent. That plan would reduce greenhouse emissions by 55% compared to 1990s levels.

Under the plan, the EU could see its natural gas demand drop by an average of 35% by 2030 and 96% by 2050, according to numbers crunched by environmental think tank E3G. Low-emission gases like hydrogen or biogas are expected to replace part of that demand.

The data stem from a detailed 2020 impact assessment released by the European Commission that explored these potential changes considering the bloc’s ambitious climate target.

The impact assessment included several scenarios for meeting the policy goals, ranging from relying on carbon price measures to reduce demand or regulatory actions such as boosting renewables and energy efficiency uptake. The different scenarios led to different projections for gas demand to drop by 2030 (from a minimum of 32% to a maximum of 37%), but they all saw demand dwindle almost fully by mid-century.