Global carbon emissions could be cut by 3% if all countries adopted a strategy used by the UK and relied more on natural gas rather than coal.
The UK cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 25% in 2016, merely by prioritising energy generated from natural gas over power from coal-fired power plants. While natural gas is not the most environment-friendly either, it is a much better choice than coal regarding air pollution, and could be a perfect choice as the first step in the transition towards greener energy sources. The average Briton saved 400 kg of carbon dioxide emissions – equivalent to taking 1 in 3 of the country’s cars off the road.
Researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Sheffield now modelled what would happen if other countries did the same and preferred natural gas over coal. Importantly, the research was reliant on existing gas-processing technology and did not include any future technologies that are not yet widely available. What they found was that global carbon dioxide emissions could be cut by 3% if others followed the British example as well.
Several countries have committed to make their power generation fully carbon-neutral in the next ten years, including France, Italy, Sweden and Austria. The example set by the UK seems like a good strategy to achieve this goal.