Climate Goals Threatened By Methane Emissions
SAN FRANCISCO, CA —A planned US$379 billion expansion of gas infrastructure in Asia risks becoming stranded assets as the world turns away from fossil fuels, according to a new report by Global Energy Monitor (GEM). The gas build-out undermines pledges by several Asian countries to achieve net zero emissions as part of a transition to renewables by mid-century, and it is occurring despite a June 2021 warning by the International Energy Agency that achieving net zero globally depends on halting all future fossil fuel development.
Key findings of the report include:
- The US$379 billion in new gas infrastructure in Asia includes US$189 billion of gas-fired power plants, US$54 billion of gas pipelines, and US$136 billion of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) import and export terminals.
- Gas plants in development in Asia would add 320 gigawatts (GW) and nearly double the region’s existing capacity from gas. This expansion would be the size of the entire gas-fired power fleet in Europe and Russia, and it would increase global gas-fired power capacity by one-fifth.
- Asian countries plan to develop 452 million tons per annum (mtpa) of new LNG import terminal capacity, which comprises 70% of such global capacity in development.
LNG Import Capacity in Asia vs. the Rest of the World in million tonnes per annum (mtpa)
- If built and run at full capacity, the LNG import terminals and gas pipelines in development in Asia would enable enough consumption of imported gas to produce 117 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Gt CO2-eq) over their lifespans, or a quarter of all emissions the world can produce while maintaining a good chance of limiting global warming to 1.5° C.
“Asia’s proposed gas build-out is a risky, US$379 billion bet,” said Robert Rozansky, author of the report. “If built, this new fleet of gas infrastructure could threaten Asian countries’ efforts to reach net-zero emissions. With continued unaffordable LNG prices and extreme volatility in the market, many of the planned projects in Asia will become unbankable and could shore up heavy costs to the state in decommissioning.”
“Emissions from existing gas projects are already too great for the world to have at least a 50% chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 C,” said Ted Nace, Executive Director of GEM. “If built, these new Asian gas projects would lock-in emissions for decades, and worsen the long-term effects of climate change.”
GEM’s study finds that public institutions provided US$22.4 billion in financing for gas projects in Asia between 2014 and 2018, and there is a risk that this funding could continue. Recent announcements by the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and others show that these institutions have not yet committed to withdrawing from gas financing, and remain open to funding midstream infrastructure and power plants.
Read the report here.
Additional summary tables here.
Robert Rozansky, [email protected], +1-215-518-3871
Ted Nace, [email protected], +1-510-331-8743
Global Energy Monitor (GEM) develops and shares information on fossil fuel projects in support of the worldwide movement for clean energy. Current projects include the Global Coal Plant Tracker, the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, the Europe Gas Tracker, the CoalWire newsletter, and the GEM wiki. For more information, visit www.globalenergymonitor.org