Climate Impact Comparison of Electric and Gas-Powered End-User Appliances
van der Veen, C.
Denier van der Gon, H.A.C.
Natural gas is considered a bridging technology in the energy transition because it produces fewer carbon emissions than coal, for example. However, when leaks exist, methane is released into the atmosphere, leading to a dramatic increase in the carbon footprint of natural gas, as methane is a much stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Therefore, we conducted a detailed study of methane emissions from gas-powered end-use appliances and then compared their climate impacts with those of electricity-powered appliances. We used the Munich Oktoberfest as a case study and then extended the study to 25 major natural gas consuming countries. This showed that electricity has been the more climate-friendly energy source at Oktoberfest since 2005, due to the extensive use of renewable electricity at the festival and the presence of methane emissions, particularly caused by the incomplete combustion and leakages of natural gas in cooking and heating appliances. By contrast, at the global level, our study shows that natural gas still produces lower carbon emissions for end-user appliances than electricity in 18 of the 25 countries studied. However, as the share of renewable energy in the electricity mix steadily increases in most countries, the carbon footprint of electricity will be lower than that of natural gas in these countries in the near future. These findings from our comparison of the total carbon emissions of electric and gas-powered end-use appliances can help inform the debate on how to effectively address climate change. (C) 2023 The Authors. Earth's Future published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Geophysical Union.
To reference this document use:
Environment & Sustainability
John Wiley and Sons Inc
Earth's Future, 11 (11), 1-15