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The REPowerEU plan was recently drafted by the EU authorities to address the energy crisis triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Among the other things it plans to add 10 Billion Euro to what is already being spent on Gas infrastructure. Mainly additional infrastructure for liquefied gas.

I assume that if someone want to spend so much money on some infrastructure they are not planning to use it for just few years. But according to the plan works for such infrastructure will go on until 2030, and maybe beyond, that is when according to the promise Europe should reduce by 55% the greenhouse gas emission. This mean that while they promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions they keep investing on a fossil fuel. Furthermore, according to the promise 20 years later Europe should achieve net zero emissions this means that an infrastructure that took such high investments to build should become redundant way before the 2050 target.

As far as I know no EU leader tried to justify such conflicting policies. How can they assure their commitment to the climate goals while they keep investing on a fossil fuel?

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    Credible sounds subjective? Do you ask for internal motivations, like the EU secretly doesn't want to stop using fossil fuels in the future? Or do think that investing that much money on a temporal infrastructure means they cannot stop using it later (they probably can if they want to)? Or do you simply ask for an explanation from the EU side why these investments in fossil energy supply are necessary now although they are not planned to be needed for long time? I guess the answer would then somehow include Russia and avoiding a hard cliff to fall off.
    – Trilarion
    May 25 at 16:14
  • @Trilarion There is no need to involve secret motivations and conspiracy theories. This is not just something at political level because those investments are carried out alongside private companies and privates do not throw away at such projects with the assumption the there would be no return on the investment.
    – FluidCode
    May 25 at 16:34
  • according to the plan works for such infrastructure will go on until 2030 maybe asking specifically if the investments in LNG have a formal, committed-to, retirement and write-off date? I agree, large investments in fossils deserve scrutiny at all times and certain countries in the EU zone have historically talked the green talk quite a bit while achieving very little, CO2-wise because they neglected to look a hard-headed, economics-based, at actual numbers and outcomes. May 25 at 18:18
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    Then I don't understand what you are asking for. What kind of answers do you seek? What would a good answer include?
    – Trilarion
    May 26 at 16:16
  • The new infrastructure is supposed to be "hydrogen-ready".
    – Roland
    May 30 at 14:04

1 Answer 1

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Natural gas emits ~50% less CO2 per unit of energy generated than coal does http://www.global-greenhouse-warming.com/gas-vs-coal.html

EU countries are currently still operating coal powered plants https://renewablesnow.com/news/europes-coal-generation-rises-in-2021-could-increase-further-in-2022-774179/

Replacing coal power with natural gas power reduces carbon emissions in the EU.

"net-zero" won't mean "zero fossil fuels burned" by 2050. The concept of "carbon offsets" will likely be used https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/06/what-is-carbon-offsetting/.

Thus natural gas infrastructure is useful for reducing CO2 emissions. It is likely even compatible with the "net zero" target.

As @roland noted in the comments, natural gas infrastructure possibly also be reused to carry "green" hydrogen fuel in the future.

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    No, there won't be sufficient carbon-offsets for anything beyond actual unavoidable emissions (from agriculture and a few industry processes like cement production). Natural gas can't be used for heating if net-zero is to be achieved. It has been proposed to replace natural gas with green hydrogen, which would allow to keep using the infrastructure.
    – Roland
    May 31 at 6:09
  • @Roland would you provide a link for this "there won't be sufficient carbon-offsets for anything beyond actual unavoidable emissions (from agriculture and a few industry processes like cement production)". good point about the hydrogen power reusing the same infrastructure May 31 at 6:43
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    I don't have time to search for published studies. Here is a report (see Table 1) with a 2050 szenario that is extremely optimistics regarding mitigation of emissions from agriculture and increased carbon sequestration in the LULUCF sector. This document gives a lower potential for the 2050 LULUCF sink, but is still very optimistic. ...
    – Roland
    May 31 at 7:23
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    ... Currently, heating and cooling of buildings emits about 500 Mt CO2-eq. in Europe. About 30 % of energy in this sector is from fossil gas. It seems unlikely that coal and oil will be fully replaced by electricity, gas heating seems more achievable in old buildings. So, some kind of gas will probably play a role, possible even a larger role than currently.
    – Roland
    May 31 at 7:23
  • @Roland Heating is one of the issues that raised my doubts. Some years ago there was a plan to encourage district heating as a way to exploit unused renewable and night-time production. But few countries and in few areas decided to invest on it. Paris made great promises about district heating powered by geothermal power, but it turns out to be a small project. Now this plan makes no mention of district heating. So eventually many areas are still prioritising gas over renewable (and unused night-time production) for household heating.
    – FluidCode
    May 31 at 10:44

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