The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Erin Jensen

New study: No Room For Gas in Europe's Climate Budget, Science Shows

Europe can afford only 9 more years of fossil fuels for energy, climate science shows


Europe needs to urgently quit gas if it is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to internationally agreed levels, new science shows.

A new study, commissioned by Friends of the Earth Europe from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the Teesside University, shows that EU countries can afford just nine more years of burning gas and other fossil fuels at the current rate before they will have exhausted their share of the earth's remaining carbon budget for maximum temperature rises of 2degC. [1]

Even with a managed phase-out, fossil fuels including natural gas, can have no substantial role beyond 2035 in an EU energy system compatible with 2degC.

The findings are a stark reminder of the urgency with which Europe, as a region historically responsible for climate change, needs to shift to an energy system free from fossil fuels. Under the terms of the Paris climate agreement, the EU has committed to limit global warming to 'well below 2degC' and to 'pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5degC'. [2] For 1.5degC, gas and other fossil fuels would need to be phased out even faster.

Because of the high levels of both CO2 and methane emissions throughout the gas lifecycle, the authors conclude that, "there is categorically no role for bringing additional fossil fuel reserves, including gas, into production", and that, ''an urgent program to phase out existing natural gas and other fossil fuel use across the EU is an imperative''.

This warning comes as the EU is poised to publish a list of at least 90 new major gas projects it is considering for public funding. [3] In the last three years, the EU has granted more than EUR1 billion in public finance to gas projects. [4]

Jagoda Munic, director of Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "Europe's infatuation with gas is totally incompatible with serious action on climate change. The oil and gas industry is going all out to paint gas as green and keep us hooked on fossil fuels, but the truth is there is absolutely no room for gas in the transition we need to a clean energy future. Europe needs to urgently get off all fossil fuels, realize the full potential of energy savings, and go for a 100% renewable system in the hands of people."

Professor Kevin Anderson, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the Teesside University said: "If the EU is to transform its energy system to align with the Paris temperature and equity commitments, it cannot continue with business as usual and must instead initiate a rapid phase-out of all fossil fuels including natural gas. This needs to begin now and be complete within the coming two decades."

Doctor John Broderick, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and University of Manchester said: "Extracting and burning natural gas produces substantial quantities of methane and carbon dioxide which warm the climate in different ways. We need to rapidly reduce emissions of both of these gases to prevent dangerous climate change, not one or the other."

For the next two weeks, negotiators from around the world are meeting in Bonn, Germany for the United Nations climate talks. Talks will focus on agreeing the 'rule book' for implementation of the Paris Agreement.[5]

For more information please contact:

Colin Roche, extractive industries campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe,, +32 (0) 489 59 89 84

Antoine Simon, extractive industries campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe,, +32 (0) 486 685 664

Francesca Gater, communications coordinator, Friends of the Earth Europe,, +32 (0) 485 93 05 15

Friends of the Earth fights for a more healthy and just world. Together we speak truth to power and expose those who endanger the health of people and the planet for corporate profit. We organize to build long-term political power and campaign to change the rules of our economic and political systems that create injustice and destroy nature.

(202) 783-7400