Global Emissions Have Decreased By 7%

On Nov. 2, the opening day of the virtual e-LPG Week, Dr. Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), addressed attendees about the role of energy in the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained the huge impact of the pandemic, with declines in energy usage of around 5% and some 20% reduction in investment, a situation not seen since World War II. Corresponding expected declines in global emissions of around 7% are the largest in history, but, as Dr. Birol reported, this is not necessarily good news.

“This decline (in emissions) is not happening because of the right energy policies or new technologies,” he stated. “This is happening because of the economic meltdown around the world. Low economic growth is not a low emission strategy,” and if governments do not take the right measures to push emissions down, as the global economy recovers, emissions will return to previous levels, he added.

Dr. Birol continued, “We are very well aware of the critical role of LPG in industry, in transportation, and most importantly in households across the world, especially in the emerging world. To date about 2.6 billion people, 5 times the population of Europe, have no access to clean cooking. They are using coal, kerosene, agricultural waste, animal waste in certain cases, for cooking. And this is one of the top three reasons, according to a study we carried out with the World Health Organization (WHO), for premature deaths around the world because of the respiratory diseases that it causes and here, of course, LPG can be a very important option to address this problem and we have seen several good examples.”

WHO estimates that nearly four million people die prematurely each year from illnesses attributed to polluted household air. LPG is an important and immediate solution to this problem, which not only improves air quality but also lowers global carbon emissions, stops increasing deforestation, and improves the lives of women and children.

One example of policy that has gained global recognition for helping poorer families gain access to green cooking fuel, is that of the Indian government with its Ujjwala program. In his address to e-LPG Week, Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, chairman of Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. (IOC), spoke about the success of the program and the importance of e-LPG Week in forming policies and strategy at both global and local level. He said, “During the pandemic, the scheme has been invaluable in giving relief to vulnerable sections of society through national lockdown.”

The Indian government gave three free refills of LPG cylinders between the months of April and June to those below the poverty line. Vaidya pointed out, “LPG has become an indispensable part of the Indian kitchen, with a surge in demand over lockdown of around 17%.”

While offering a life-changing solution to rural communities and a way of lowering global emissions, Dr. Birol continued to explain how the LPG community can do more in terms of increasing the availability of renewable LPG. He praised several refineries for their efforts in processing renewable feedstock into various oil products, including bioLPG and concluded that “bioLPG is still in modest quantities but it can, and promises to, play a greater role in years to come.” 

Vaidya concluded by summarizing the importance of new energy. While acknowledging the roles of hydrogen and CNG, he said, “LPG plays a vital role in the continuing use of clean energy and ensuring inclusive growth and enhanced sustainability.”

SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, November 5, 2020. Weekly Propane Newsletter subscribers receive all the latest posted and spot prices from major terminals and refineries around the U.S. delivered to inboxes every week. Receive a center spread of posted prices with hundreds of postings updated each week, along with market analysis, insightful commentary, and much more not found elsewhere.