Global Energy Monitor
  • Jenny Martos

Coal-to-gas switching threatens energy,
security, and global climate goals

The global pivot away from coal risks become a global pivot toward new gas projects, according to a report from Global Energy Monitor (GEM), which finds that approximately 89.6 gigawatts (GW) of gas plants in development, totalling 5,070 million tonnes CO2e lifetime emissions if built, are coal-to-gas conversions or replacements.

Any reductions in CO2 emissions from cancelling coal plants could be offset by an increase in methane emissions, a more potent greenhouse gas.

Of 692.5 GW of new gas plants in development globally, 89.6 GW, or 13% consist of coal-to-gas conversions or replacements.

These conversions are proceeding despite data showing that gas projects are increasingly uncompetitive with renewables, and despite growing support for the Global Methane Pledge, which has been signed by 122 countries that currently account for half of all methane emissions.

There is a planned US$797.4 billion expansion of gas infrastructure underway in the regions of North America, Europe/EU, and East Asia, representing an enormous potential stranded asset risk.

Jenny Martos

If these planned coal-to-gas conversions become reality we will simply be doubling down on fossil fuels at the expense of our climate. Gas will never be able to compete with renewables economically in the long run. This study underscores the need for countries canceling coal to leapfrog gas and develop more renewables.

Jenny Martos, Project Manager, Global Gas Plant Tracker

Download Full Report