The war in Ukraine and the on-going energy crisis have made it clear that a green energy transition is not only essential for avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. It is also a security matter. While there is growing consensus on the need for a power sector coal phase-out, fossil gas has largely flown under the radar.
This report assesses how fast fossil gas power generation must be phased out in different parts of the world to keep the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature goal in reach.The scenarios used here were developed before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the recent spike in oil and gas prices. Security and economic concerns may compel a faster phase-down of gas in some regions.
Global gas phase-out dates
- Using global 1.5°C compatible pathways from the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5°C (SR15), we find that unabated fossil gas power generation needs to be effectively phased out (with less than a 2.5% share of generation) by 2045in all regions of the world.
- The latest pathways assessed in the IPCC’s sixth assessment report (AR6) show an even earlier phase-out date, by around 2040. A rapid phase-out of fossil gas from the power sector is becoming both more urgent, due to rising emissions, and more feasible, due to the falling costs of renewables and storage.
- The decline in fossil gas power generation starts immediately in 1.5°C pathways. Fossil gas use falls to 15% of total global electricity generation by 2030, reaching very low levels by 2035 (below 10% in SR15 pathways, and lower in AR6 pathways).
- Comparing these results with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero Scenario gives a similar picture, with unabated fossil gas power generation dropping to 17% of total generation in 2030, and being phased out by 2050. It is worth noting that the IEA’s Net Zero Scenario deviates substantially from IPCC 1.5°C pathways when we look at fossil gas use beyond the power sector: the IEA Net Zero scenario has significantly higher total unabated gas consumption over the next decade, reflecting more conservative assumptions over the availability of low carbon alternatives for non-electricity fossil gas applications.
At the regional level
- Developed countries see a faster fossil gas phase-out in SR15 pathways, with gas power generation falling below 10% of total electricity generation by 2030, to be effectively phased out by 2035.
- For developing countries, the pace varies between regions, but on average the share of fossil gas power generation falls below 10% by 2035 and is phased out by 2045 in SR15 pathways. However, our preliminary analysis of AR6 scenarios at the global level suggests that a faster phase-out is both cost-effective and necessary.
- Fossil gas cannot have a role as a transition fuel in the power sector. The fossil gas phase-out date occurs at most 5-10 years after the coal phase-out date in both developed and developing economies. Given the dramatic plummet in the cost of renewable energy, investing in new fossil gas power generation in the 2020s carries the risk of creating stranded assets.
Defining a Regional Goal on Adaptation for the Caribbean
While the Global Goal on Adaptation provides a collective goal for adapting to climate change, adaptation is often a context specific and localised process. This paper proposes a Regional Goal on Adaptation for the Caribbean based on priorities relevant for Caribbean small island developing states.
Unabated: the Carbon Capture and Storage 86 billion tonne carbon bomb aimed at derailing a fossil phase out
The climate talks at COP28 have centred around the need for a fossil fuel phase out. Our analysis quantifies the risk posed by restricting a phase out commitment to only ‘unabated’ fossil fuels.
Adaptation constraints in scenarios of socio-economic development
Here, we combine data on documented adaptation from the Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative with national macro indicators and assess future changes in adaptation constraints alongside the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, spanning a wide range of future socio-economic development scenarios.
When will global greenhouse gas emissions peak?
The IPCC says peaking before 2025 is a critical step to keep the 1.5°C limit within reach. With emissions set to rise in 2023, this leaves limited time to act. To assess if we can meet this milestone, we look at when global emissions might peak, as well as what we can do to get there in time.
Wind and solar benchmarks for a 1.5°C world
This report presents a detailed methodology for determining the amount of wind and solar capacity that is required for a country to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature goal. While the focus of the report is the method, it includes illustrative benchmarks for Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Germany, South Africa.
A 1.5°C future is possible: getting fossil fuels out of the Philippine power sector
The Philippines is also one of the fastest-growing developing countries: poverty is in decline, access to energy is rising and, with that, demand for energy services. However, fossil fuels still dominate the energy system, accounting for 78% of power generation in 2022. This report sets out what the Philippines government needs to do to get the country’s power sector onto a 1.5˚C compatible emissions pathway, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.
State of Climate Action 2023
This report finds that global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C are failing across the board, with recent progress made on every indicator – except electric vehicle sales – lagging behind the pace and scale needed to address the climate crisis.
Emissions impossible: Unpacking CSIRO GISERA Beetaloo Middle Arm fossil gas emissions estimates
This report provides an independent evaluation of the CSIRO and GISERA assessments of the potential greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the exploitation of the Beetaloo fossil shale gas reserves.
Coastal loss and damage for small islands
This commentary on a paper in Nature Sustainability reviews how the study quantifies the impacts of sea-level rise on small island states and estimates the impacts in terms of cost, land loss and population exposure across all small islands worldwide.
Adjusting 1.5°C climate change mitigation pathways in light of adverse new information
This study uses an integrated assessment model to explore how 1.5°C pathways could adjust in light of new adverse information, such as a reduced 1.5°C carbon budget, or slower-than-expected low-carbon technology deployment.