Should New Zealand Explore More Natural Gas Reserves?

The new coalition government of New Zealand has reportedly introduced a zero-carbon legislation that places the country on the path to be carbon neutral by 2050. However, it is still not ruling out new permits for offshore oil drilling, coal mining, and fracking during the transition from fossil fuels.

Natural gas is considered as a fuel that helps cut the use of coal for heat and power whilst moving towards a low-carbon economy. According to sources, it is also highlighted that New Zealand could build a renewable low-carbon transport fuels industry by transitioning to biofuels instead of the use of natural gas.

Carbon Budget
It is reported that carbon dioxide (CO₂) is a long living greenhouse gas. And, the analysis by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that on reaching a total of 2,900 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (Gt CO₂) in the atmosphere, the planet would exceed the agreed international target to keep the warming below two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Gas, the Transition fuel
Natural gas is also described as a transition fuel reducing the use of coal. The burning of conventional gas produces lower emissions and provides the same heat and electricity services.

Subsidies in Energy Security & Fossil Fuel
In order to reduce dependence on imports, many nations including New Zealand reportedly improve their energy security by moving to indigenous fossil fuel resources. Exploring more gas aggravates climate change. Apart from which, production and consumption are extensively subsidised by many governments.

New Zealand’s Economy Without More Gas
Natural gas in New Zealand contributes to producing methanol and petrochemical products like urea. The conversion to gas contributes to 1.3 Mt CO₂/yr of emissions being avoided, which results in a little to meet New Zealand’s current 2030 target under the Paris Agreement. Meanwhile, to meet the net-zero emissions target, the government should try to use existing reserves of natural gas wisely, invest significantly in research and development in sustainable energy, invest in renewable energy technologies including biofuels, and more.

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