Global Energy Monitor

Coal-to-Gas Switching Would Threaten Economic and Climate Objectives in the Region


SAN FRANCISCO, CA–The climate benefits of record coal plant cancellations in Asia will be lost if a planned US$358 billion expansion of Asian gas infrastructure goes forward, according to a new briefing from Global Energy Monitor (GEM). 

Despite numerous climate pledges made by Asian countries at COP26 – including a major Global Methane Pledge and new net zero carbon targets – there are plans in the region for 285 gigawatts (GW) of new gas-fired power plants, 452 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) import capacity, and 63,000 kilometers (km) of gas pipelines. This expansion would double the region’s gas power capacity and triple its pipeline capacity, while increasing the world’s 910 mtpa of LNG import capacity by 50%.

Gas plant proposals in Asia exceed coal plant cancellations

China’s planned US$131 billion expansion includes 90 GW of new gas plants and a 40% expansion of its gas pipelines, from 76,000 to 104,000 kilometers. Vietnam’s planned US$38 billion expansion includes 55 GW of new gas plants. Indonesia’s planned US$32 billion expansion includes 5.8 GW of new gas plants and 10 mtpa of new LNG import capacity.

Asia’s gas buildout also threatens economic development in the region, the briefing finds, as the global shift away from financing fossil fuels will create a situation in which many of the planned projects in Asia will become unbankable, while others will become prohibitively expensive to operate compared to cheaper renewables. The gas expansion also undermines Asian countries’ pledges to achieve net zero emissions by mid-century. If even just half of the proposed gas plants in Asia are built (143 of 285 GW) with an operating lifetime of 30 years, it will postpone the net zero power system by decades.

“The coal bust is at a risk of becoming a gas boom in Asia,” said Robert Rozansky, GEM’s LNG research analyst. “Asia’s gas buildout would be a US$358 billion bet on assets that are—or soon will be—uncompetitive against ever cheaper renewable power.”

“There is no space under the Paris climate agreement for a radical expansion of fossil fuels,” said Christine Shearer, GEM’s Coal Program Director. “These planned gas projects will either be operating well after we need to reach net zero emissions, or they will be shut down early as stranded assets.” 

Read the report here.

Additional summary tables here.


Robert Rozansky, [email protected], 215-518-3871

Christine Shearer, [email protected], 714-514-1889


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