President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris climate accord must not become a distraction from urgent global efforts to combat climate change.
Countries in Asia were among the most committed supporters of the Paris goals. Now is not the time to break stride, but to reinforce the resolve.
Energy demand is set to double this century, with the world’s population reaching 11 billion, up from 7.5 billion today.
As the world changes, so will the energy system that powers it, driven by the need to reduce carbon emissions and—crucially for Asia—tackle air pollution that blights so many lives.
Put simply: we will need more and cleaner energy if Asian countries are to continue to thrive in the coming decades.
For Asia’s population, renewable energy will be essential to meeting growing demand while tackling climate change and air pollution.
But renewables chiefly produce electricity.
And there are parts of the economy, such as industries that produce iron, steel, cement, plastic and chemicals that cannot be electrified yet—certainly not at a reasonable cost.
That’s one reason why Shell’s Scenarios team believes that 75 percent of overall global energy demand will be met by traditional sources like oil, gas and nuclear in 2050.
The coming decades will see a big change in the way energy is produced, used and made available to people.
And I see a combination of renewables, such as wind and solar, and natural gas—the cleanest-burning hydrocarbon—playing an increasingly important role.
Natural gas is one of the few energy sources that can be used across all sectors of the global economy, including fueling transport, heating and lighting homes, and powering industries.
Reserves are abundant and available in many regions. The environmental benefits are also clear.
In power generation, for example, natural gas emits around half the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and less than one-tenth of air pollutants compared to coal.
In the Philippines, domestic natural gas production fuels 20 percent of electricity generation.
With domestic supply forecast to decline, according to the Department of Energy, the government is introducing policies to promote LNG imports for power generation.
Policies of successive governments will determine the extent to which gas will play a key role in the coming decades. Their decisions must reflect the commitments made at the UN Paris climate summit.
Government-led mechanisms that put a price on CO2 emissions will stimulate the development of low-carbon and renewable technologies.
Beyond policy choices from governments, a lot will also depend on the action of energy companies.
Governments, companies and consumers have the power to shape a new energy future, where renewables and natural gas play critical roles.
Now is the time to step up the drive to deliver on the environmental pledges made in Paris. Now is the time to act. —CONTRIBUTED