The future role of gas in a climate-neutral Europe

Report based on the discussions of an Expert Group convened by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union and Environmental Action Germany (Deutsche Umwelthilfe)
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Press release

It is clear that the European Union must put an end to unabated fossil gas use by 2050 at the latest to comply with its climate neutrality objective. To stay within the Paris Agreement target of 1.5°C, the use of unabated fossil gas would have to end significantly earlier – by 2035. The present report is based on the discussions of the Expert Group on the Future Role of Gas in Europe convened by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union and Environmental Action Germany (DUH) from 2020 until 2022. It outlines the implications of this challenge for the management of the energy transition in a way that rapidly phases out Russian gas imports, protects security of supply and energy-poor consumers as well as the climate. The report finds that current EU policies run the risk of prolonging dependence on fossil gas rather than decisively moving towards alternatives, particularly in the heating sector, and recommends a much more active approach to phasing down fossil gas use as soon as feasible while building up a sustainable, carbon-free energy system.

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Product details
Date of Publication
June 2022
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union & Deutsche Umwelthilfe
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents

Chapter 1: Securing the EU’s energy supply in light of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine

  • A new context for the energy transition
  • Solutions for the next winter
  • Using the next investment cycle wisely

Chapter 2: Managing the long-term decline of fossil gas

  • Phasing down fossil gas use as rapidly as possible
  • Infrastructure planning for success
  • Revamping Europe’s energy system
  • Far from clean: the problem of unreported methane emissions

Chapter 3: The decarbonisation potential of hydrogen

  • Keeping hydrogen green
  • Building hydrogen infrastructure that is fit for purpose
  • Fleshing out a hydrogen import strategy

Chapter 4: Managing the transition to sustainable heating

  • Creating the right enabling conditions
  • Developing the right sustainable heating options
  • Removing barriers to sustainable space heating
  • Greening district heating

Chapter 5: Addressing the socio-economic impacts of phasing out fossil gas

  • Ensuring the affordability of energy
  • Fossil gas heating: an energy poverty trap

Policy recommendations
Endnotes and references