The impact of Covid-19 in 2020 is estimated to have led to around a 7% reduction in global energy-related CO2 emissions; the GECF said and noted this decline, however, will be short-lived with a rebound in 2021 and 2022 as energy demand recovers.
In the reference case scenario (RCS), emissions will grow moderately until 2030 before stabilising and plateauing at around 33.7GtCO2 over the 2030-2050 period, the Gas Exporting Countries Forum said in its just released ‘GECF Global Gas Outlook 2050’.
Natural gas will contribute the least to emissions by 2050 (32%), despite its higher role in the hydrocarbons mix (39%), while coal will still account for a high share (33%) although its contribution to the hydrocarbons mix is much lower (23%).
Further penetration of natural gas will lead to a greater potential for carbon mitigation, the GECF noted.
The GECF has developed a Carbon Mitigation Scenario (CMS), assessing the future role of natural gas in reducing emissions.
The CMS outlines the potential to mitigate emissions by 6.8 GtCO2 in 2050 with an increasing penetration of gas and renewables.
These two fuels are set to increase their shares to 14% and 30%, respectively, by 2050, from 10% and 28% in the RCS.
Although natural gas will play a lead role in reducing long-term emissions, with larger dissemination of proven and well-established technologies, GECF noted there is a need to consider further decarbonisation potential, including through blue hydrogen and CCUS options.
Taking into account the revised GDP growth expectations, the 2020 demand contraction and patterns related to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as incorporating recent energy policy developments, global primary energy demand grows by 24% over the Outlook period, returning to its 2019 levels by late 2023, but by 2050 it remains 2.5% lower than the pre-pandemic forecast.
The energy transition is underway, and natural gas together with renewables will gain in importance and will be the major contributors to incremental growth in global energy demand, together accounting for more than 90% of the additional 3,520 Mtoe through to 2050.
In its turn, natural gas will play the most prominent role in building a more sustainable energy system. Boosted by cumulative economic and population drivers, environmental concerns, increasing availability of supplies and positive policy support in many countries, natural gas will overtake coal in 2025 and become the largest global primary energy source by 2047, with oil plateauing around 2040 and then beginning its irreversible decline.
Simultaneously, the structure of the energy mix is becoming more diversified thanks to the expansion of non-fossil fuels, spearheaded by the progress in renewables, whose share rises from 2% in 2019 to 10% in 2050.