Bringing The Clean Air Act to Asia

Theodore Michael's picture
Theodore Michael, LNG Analyst, Genscape
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The Clean Air Act 1956 was an Act of Parliament passed in response to London's Great Smog of 1952. It ended coal burning for residential heating and in city power-gen.

Participants in the European Autumn Gas Conference 2016 (The Hague) made clear that chasing CO2 targets has not worked. Gas needs a new pitch “clean air”. The public won’t be won with rational appeals. The global gas industry has to accept they are in a consumer-driven market and energy policy is also driven by consumer tastes. Gas marketers have to connect with consumers on an emotional level. Green power has proven one irrevocable fact. Consumers respond to emotions not to pricing. Natural gas has to take its cue from renewables play to the heart not the mind.

“Never call yourself a transition fuel. We are the fuel of the future”, said Philip Lambert, CEO, Lambert Energy Associates at the European Autumn Gas Conference (EAGC).

Gas must change its message to match local politics. The gas industry doesn’t need more science or methane studies, its needs consumer marketing experts. The vast cities of Asia cannot replace 500 GW of coal-gen with wind mills and solar rooftops. Energy density at low prices means only gas can displace coal on a continental scale.

Global gas glut - Big as oil glut in 1985: Like the previous oil glut, it may take decades to drain. However, a clean air movement driving a switch into gas would quickly end the surplus. Driving supply is the US shale gas revolution pricing the fuel within consumer reach on a global basis. For urban Asian dwellers, renewables are not an end in themselves. Their goal is clean air. Avoid the European mistake of power three times the cost of US or China. Europe missed an opportunity surrounded as it is by vast gas resources, including unexplored reserves in Norway and huge spare capacity in Russia. Demonized for missing two weeks of work since the Cuban Missile Crisis, Russia can still deliver 200 bcma of $4-$5 gas into Europe. New US LNG all in capital costs are $7-$8 and will go to the littoral cities of Latin America and Asia.

The European Autumn Gas Conference (EAGC) – Connecting European gas markets with new global opportunities.

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The views expressed are the author’s own, and do not reflect any position on behalf of dmg:: events Global Energy.