The burning of natural gas for heating contributes 14% of the UK’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Decarbonising, or reducing the carbon content of the UK gas supply is one option for reducing the emissions from heating. This POSTnote looks at the contribution that two alternative gases, hydrogen and biomethane, could make in achieving this goal.Jump to full report >>
The Climate Change Act (2008) requires an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to 1990 levels by 2050. The UK is on track to meet short-term emissions targets, but is unlikely to meet longer term targets without additional policies. While emissions from electricity production have fallen significantly, there has been much less progress in reducing emissions from heating.
The gas network supplies natural gas to consumers for heat, and could in future supply alternative gases that do not contribute to climate change. This note looks at the prospects for ‘decarbonising’ the gas network, by supplying biomethane and hydrogen in place of natural gas. It covers their production and supply, carbon emissions and costs, and technical and policy challenges.
Key points in this POSTnote include:
An update to this note was published on 27 Nov 2017.
POSTnotes are based on literature reviews and interviews with a range of stakeholders and are externally peer reviewed. POST would like to thank interviewees and peer reviewers for kindly giving up their time during the preparation of this briefing, including:
Authors: Malcolm Graham; Jack Miller
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.