The world is transitioning to more renewable fuel sources that can meet these needs, providing energy through solar, wind and hydropower. These low-carbon energy sources are becoming more prevalent, reducing carbon emissions at a time when energy and fuel demand is rising.
But these energy sources can’t do it on their own.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) expects global power use, industrialisation and commercial transportation levels to rise, accounting for 80% of energy demand.
While renewables can provide power to the people, they aren’t able to provide energy continually to meet demand since they’re an intermittent power supply.
Renewables need support to smooth out the intermittency challenge for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.
“There is currently a lack of alternatives to meet the full range of needs in these three important sectors – power, industry and commercial transport – that underpin modern living standards,” Barry said.
“Meeting future energy demand will continue to require a diverse, interconnected mix of energy sources, which must collectively also reduce emissions.”
Natural gas is one of the lower-carbon energy sources that can meet that demand while keeping the world on track to reduce emissions.
“For society to meet its ambitions for a lower-carbon energy future, emissions in these hard-to-decarbonise sectors need to be addressed, and this is a space that ExxonMobil is playing an important role,” Barry said.
“Natural gas is and will remain an important part of the energy mix now and into the future particularly as the world moves to a lower-carbon future.”
He added that gas is also providing a reliable, lower-carbon alternative to coal power generation.
“When natural gas is used to generate electricity, it emits up to 60% fewer greenhouse emissions compared to coal, and so natural gas in power generation offers an immediate, large-scale, and proven option to make significant progress in lowering global emissions and improving air quality.”
Powering a rising Asia
Gas demand is not expected to peak until about 2040, making it a pivotal source in the energy transition.
Studies have shown that natural gas is one of the best options to overcome renewables’ intermittency.
In fact, research states that without supporting technology – like natural gas – the integration of renewable technologies may be infeasible, cost too much and be significantly delayed.
“As we look to the future, ExxonMobil is working to advance smart and scalable solutions including new ways to help decarbonise the largest emitting sectors — manufacturing, power generation and transportation systems. Because there isn’t just one climate solution — there are many,” Barry explained.
So, moving to this next stage of powering the world not only requires a balance of the right power, but also the right government policies that can support the shift towards cleaner energy in a sensible way.
That is why leading energy companies around the world, including ExxonMobil, have banded together to create a new energy association specifically for the Asia Pacific region which aims to help nations provide the energy their people need as they transition to a lower-carbon energy future.
Meeting the dual challenges of balancing energy demand with emissions reductions requires broad solutions.
“They must be supported by sound and pragmatic government policies that leverage market forces, are fit-for-purpose, transparent and non-discriminatory,” added Barry.