IGU Webcast Live from Amsterdam

November 30, 2016

The aim of the webcast series is to bring the voices of gas that matter to you. The initiative has been taken on by the IGU Marketing and Communications committee.

The edition of the webcast brought together representatives of academia, business and environmental NGOs. The place was the Netherlands, a place, that according to the two hosts Dimitri Schildmeijer and Hansch van der Velden, has had a happy marriage with natural gas for more than 60 years. However, the marriage is recently showing some real signs of fatigue. The problems, earthquakes in the gas producing region Groningen, have become so big that they cannot be ignored any longer.

Our expert panel, consisted of:

  • Tjerk Wagenaar - Director of Nature & Environment, a leading Dutch NGO
  • Mel Ydreos - Executive Director Public Affairs, IGU
  • Coby van der Linde - Director Clingendael International Energy Programme (CIEP)

They discussed about the possible future role of gas in the sustainable energy mix.

Tjerk Wagenaar called for leadership and innovation in the current energy transition. For him and Natuur & Milieu, there should be a reasonable transition to a sustainable world and gas will still play a part in this transition. However, in the sense of “gas by design” – gas should only be used where there is no other alternative.

Mel Ydreos pointed to the need also for improved air quality. This being a current challenge in many countries that needs to be tackled now and not within a 20 years’ timeframe. When it comes to clean air, gas is undisputed and definitively has a role to play. He also alluded to areas of use where no renewable or other fuel can be a substitute for natural gas: fertilizers and chemicals. A holistic view is therefore important in the current situation.

Coby van der Linde talked of the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach for a sustainable energy mix. She highlighted that the energy transition is really about a renewal of social contracts. Energy is not just about economics, but also about social-economics. In order to get anywhere with the transition, honest and not ideological communication is key to gain stakeholder support. Real consequences and sacrifices must be communicated to the public, and risks and benefits weighed.