The argument being made by GasTerra, other parties in the energy sector and leading experts that, at least in the short and medium term, the fossil fuel gas is essential for reducing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide would seem at first sight to be a contradiction in terms. This is because it implies that the more natural gas we burn, the lower the CO2 emissions will be. The explanation for this apparent contradiction lies in the simple fact that consuming natural gas releases considerably less CO2 than burning the other two important fossil fuels, coal and oil. Thus replacing coal and oil with natural gas where it is possible and worthwhile to do so reduces total emissions from energy consumption.
This gas paradox is the basis for GasTerra's energy transition and sustainability policy. The company focuses on public concerns about energy matters and the role of gas in the solution to the energy question: safety, security of supply and affordability, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality. This is why we argue for a diverse range of means and resources to be used: major efforts to save energy, promotion of renewable energy sources, especially green gas, technological innovation, maximum energy savings, binding emission ceilings and strengthening the competitiveness of gas.
We realise in this context that in future gas will have a different position in the energy mix than it has today. For a responsible transition to a climate-neutral energy supply, we believe that gas should only be used where expensive alternatives are less attractive from an environmental impact point of view. In other words, gas will become customised: gas by design. In practice this will mean establishing priorities among the resources that we can use to reduce emissions. The gas sector has devised a special multi-stage plan for this purpose, the Ladder of Seven. One of the results of this approach is that natural gas extracted in the Netherlands, provided that it is savely produced, is preferred above imported gas.
In this context we put the emphasis on promising gas applications: in the built environment and in the transport sector. LNG for shipping and road transport, and CNG for cars, for example, are significantly cleaner fuels that could achieve large-scale reductions in highly polluting emissions and CO2. We also argue for an effective reform of the European emission trading system to improve the present shaky position of gas in central electricity generation. We seek to engage in as much dialogue and cooperation as possible with other stakeholders, such as the government, politicians, science, education, think-tanks, NGOs and companies, stressing that we are in agreement on the aims: a climate-neutral, secure and affordable energy supply. Our point of departure is still the conviction that efficient use of natural gas will make a substantial contribution to the solution to the energy and climate question. For the time being we cannot manage without gas.