According to the Alberta government's "Canadian Energy Centre":

Canada’s success as global LNG player also hinges on a key piece of international climate policy that seeks to define how countries can work together to achieve their GHG reduction targets. Article 6 of the 2015 Paris Agreement has yet to be settled after talks stalled at the United Nations’ COP 25 climate conference in Spain last month. The lack of progress disappointed Canada’s energy sector, as a proposed emissions trading plan for Article 6 would enable Canada to take credit for a portion of the significant GHG reductions that would result from replacing coal with natural gas for electricity generation.

If natural gas replaces coal, can a gas exporting country claim the reduced emissions towards its own reduction targets as set out in the Paris Agreement? Is there any proposal that would have this effect? I have not seen this discussed in news reports.

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    You'll need to be a bit more specific. Are you referring to a particular treaty, national legislation, or provincial legislation?
    – Joe C
    Jan 9, 2020 at 22:14
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    I'm referring to Article 6 of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Jan 9, 2020 at 23:01
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    "Is there any proposal that would have this effect?" Didn't you just quote the Canadian proposal on this or at least a summary of it? Are you looking for the full text of that? Jan 10, 2020 at 23:35
  • @Fizz I'm looking for any information about the concept that countries that reduce emissions by switching fuels would not get full credit, but would have to share credit with a foreign fuel provider. I have not heard of anything like this elsewhere. I'd think would be newsworthy, if only because the largest exporters are Russia and Qatar. Jan 11, 2020 at 0:00
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    Would this be viewed as double counting? Both the exporting and importing country wants to claim it has reduced its carbon emissions. Isn't this what has discredited carbon credits? Jan 12, 2020 at 17:19

1 Answer 1


If natural gas replaces coal, can a gas exporting country claim the reduced emissions towards its own reduction targets as set out in the Paris Agreement

Yes, since the Paris agreement only about reducing emissions, specifically by 20%. The Paris agreement does not tell how a country should accomplish this, only that it needs reduce their emission. It also only asks that signatories pursue renewable energy sources and that their economies should have a mix of 20% renewable energy, the remaining 80% can be any energy source.

Most US/China emission reductions/stalling can be credited to the reduction in the use of coal power,rather then other policies. Though, at some point we're going to run out of coal power plants to turn off.

Is there any proposal that would have this effect?

In the US, Obama made a huge effort to reduce coal and replace it with natural gas. This contributed to a reduction or at least stalling of emissions from the US. A good part of that strategy included switching many sources to natural gas.

I have not seen this discussed in news reports.

A lot of the climate change discussion involves the elimination of fossil fuel sources and often promotes a negative stigma around the use of fossil fuels in general. The idea of switching to a cleaner fossil fuel source, while practical, is not as flashy as say scotland moving towards running their entire country on wind/tide power.

  • The risk however is that natural gas is not CO2-free and we will now have huge sunken assets in shiny new gas power stations that no one will want to retire. I hate to sound like a Green on this, but widespread substitution needs to be very clear about retirement expectations, it is at best a stopgap. Feb 5, 2020 at 16:37
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    No, it isn't CO2-free, but neither is breathing. 70% of power gveneration in China was/is from coal. The reality is natural gas power sources produce half the CO2 that coal does. Replacing all of chinas coal power stations would reduce their entire carbon footprint by about 18%, which is massive and would almost meet paris goals. Further energy consumption in the US & China are only about 30% of carbon sources. Industry & agriculture are far bigger.
    – Troyd
    Feb 5, 2020 at 16:47
  • Maybe they should have included language in the Paris Agreement for carbon-zero or carbon-negative power generation as a requirement instead of absolute reduction. Aug 4, 2020 at 3:36

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