Dublin — Green groups – including Futureproof Clare, Gluaiseacht, Safety Before LNG, Friends of the Irish Environment, Not Here Not Anywhere, Love Leitrim, Friends of the Earth and Food & Water Europe – have challenged in an open letter ESRI’s recent Liquefied Natural Gas Valuation research bulletin which states that importing fracked liquefied natural gas (LNG) or developing a storage facility could reduce gas prices in future.
ERSI builds its assumption on the central perspective that natural gas has “environmental advantages relative to more polluting coal and oil” and that it therefore “contributes towards policy objectives that target environment quality and sustainable development.”
The signatories of the open letter heavily criticize ESRI for not willing to pay attention to the amount of existing crucial scientific evidence that proves the significant negative climate role of gas (in particular fracked gas) and the economic consequences related to the need to fully decarbonize our economy by 2050! They point out that fossil gas is just another fossil fuel that we need to phase-out within the next 10 to 30 years – in order to avoid overshooting significant climate tipping-points.
LNG is a very capital and energy intensive industry. There is also an operational expense and a shipping expense. On top of that the process is complicated and requires up to 25% of the energy content of the gas.
All existing EU LNG terminals have an extremely low utilization rate of under 25%. A 2018 study, commissioned by the EU COM, on “The role of Trans-European gas infrastructure in the light of the 2050 decarbonisation targets” concludes that “the utilisation level of LNG terminals and import pipelines would significantly decrease, and some assets might need to be decommissioned or used for other purposes”. Referring to Ireland it says that “capital expenditures will in the future be more focused on replacement rather than on expansion of the network” and that “the risk for stranded gas assets is in Ireland limited as it does not have LNG terminals or gas storage facilities”
For the signatories of the open letter, any new LNG terminal that is going online is very likely to become a stranded asset – making the Shannon & Cork projects risky bets for Ireland.
New gas infrastructure has a significant economic lifespan (usually between 30 and 40 years) that goes beyond the point when we’d need to fully decarbonize. The construction of any new fossil fuel infrastructure contributes therefore to increasing the risk of missing the EU 2050 climate objective and Paris Agreement targets by creating a “lock in” effect to high levels of gas consumption.
Referring to a 2018 study about the economic costs of climate in Europe, the signatories highlight that the costs of climate inaction will amount in hundreds of billions of Euro per year. This would contradict the assumption that investment in new fossil infrastructure will result in economic benefits for consumers.
Notes for the Editor:
- ESRI March 2019 bulletin
- Prof. Howarth, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA, paper on methane emissions and presentation
- Analysis papers on LNG Jordan Cove Full Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions and on role of gas as a bridge fuel
- EU COM report “The role of Trans-European gas infrastructure in the light of the 2050 decarbonisation targets”
- COACCH (Co-Designing the Assessment of Climate Change Costs) study
- Anne Marie Harrington, Community Organiser, Futureproof Clare
Phone: 00353868645312, email: [email protected]
- Tony Lowes, Director, Friends of the Irish Environment
Phone: 0035 3 (0)27 74771, email: [email protected]
- Meaghan Carmody, Head of Mobilisation, Friends of the Earth Ireland
Phone: 01 639 4652 , email: [email protected]
- Eoin O Leidhin, Gluaiseacht
Phone: 0035 3873635729 , email: [email protected]
- Andy Gheorghiu, policy advisor and campaigner, Food & Water Europe
Phone: 0049 160 20 30 974, email: [email protected]
- Eddie Mitchell, Love Leitrim
Phone: 0035 3872239972, email: [email protected]
- Johnny McElliot, Safety Before LNG
Phone: 0035 3872804474, email: [email protected]