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Rethink shift to LNG, SE Asia countries urged

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star
Rethink shift to LNG, SE Asia countries urged
Fisherfolk hold a protest in the waters of Batangas City on April 22, Earth Day to denounce the expansion of fossil gas plants and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the area.
Mara Manuel for Center for Energy, Ecology and Development

MANILA, Philippines — Singapore-based research institution Asia Research and Engagement (ARE) is encouraging countries in Southeast Asia to reconsider their growing reliance on liquefied natural gas (LNG) as they transition from coal to renewables.

ARE said its recent report “uncovers critical discrepancies between LNG’s perceived environmental benefits and actual impact while highlighting pathways for positive change.”

ARE warned that the rapidly increasing LNG reliance in countries like the Philippines and Vietnam is met with inherent risks, both financial and environmental.

It said the absence of a holistic assessment of LNG’s impact within their energy policies raises concerns about their ability to meet international emission targets.

The report also found that while historically positioned as a cleaner substitute for coal, LNG’s true environmental impact is more complex.

Despite LNG’s lower carbon intensity at power plants, upstream emissions during production, storage, and transportation exacerbate its overall carbon footprint, it said.

ARE claimed that advanced research into methane leaks further emphasizes the severity of LNG’s environmental impact, which it said is “potentially exceeding coal’s.”

Further, the report said forecasts of a substantial rise in global LNG production by 2040 contradict the International Energy Agency’s call for a peak in LNG usage by 2025, a crucial milestone in achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

It noted that recent geopolitical events, prompting a surge in LNG investment, have intensified the need for a comprehensive evaluation of its life-cycle emissions.

“Our report signals a crucial juncture for Southeast Asia. Rethinking LNG’s role in the region is imperative, and an expedited transition to renewable energy sources is the need of the hour,” ARE director of energy transition Kurt Metzger said.

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