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Reproduced from IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

Global natural gas consumption growth will slow again next year after 2021's post-pandemic surge, but even that modest trajectory is out of step with emissions-cutting goals, the International Energy Agency said.

Why it matters: Its new report adds to the picture of how the pandemic has affected energy use patterns and the likely effects of nations' climate policies in the near term.

The big picture: IEA sees natural gas demand growing by 3.6% this year after falling sharply in 2020, and then growing at a slower pace, averaging 1.7% in 2022-2024. The increase stems from recovery from the pandemic but also the continuing replacement of more emissions-intensive coal and oil with gas in some applications.

Threat level: Despite that fuel switching, IEA said the rising gas consumption is out of sync with pathways for aggressive emissions cuts needed to keep the goals of the Paris climate deal within reach.

The report says this of the projected 1.7% demand growth projected in 2022-2024 after this year's rebound...

  • "This slower growth may still be too high to match a net-zero emissions path, which requires higher substitution rates and efficiency gains – especially in mature markets, where most of the switching potential from coal and oil to gas has already been realised."

Read the whole report.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 13, 2021 - Energy & Environment

A tough reality check ahead of COP26

Data: IEA; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

A major new report provides a stark warning ahead of the UN climate summit: Yes, clean-tech deployment is really surging, but energy systems are still transforming far too slowly to rein in global warming.

Driving the news: The International Energy Agency is out with its big annual World Energy Outlook, a 386-page trove of data and analysis.

Future of megacities "hang in the balance" as diplomats prepare for COP26

Still images from an interactive slider comparing Washington Nationals Stadium's future with steep emissions cuts with our current carbon path. Courtesy: Climate Central

Nations’ follow through — or lack thereof — on pledges made at the looming UN climate summit will help determine the long-term fate of tens of millions of people living in coastal megacities threatened by rising seas.

Why it matters: The delayed response of the climate system, with seas that warm and expand slowly and ice sheets that can take centuries to reach equilibrium — long after air temperatures have leveled off, means the stakes of COP26, and government decisions in coming years, are extraordinarily high.

Earnings season is here

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The third-quarter earnings season is going to be telling. We all expected monster numbers across the board out of Q2 results — but this time around, some companies will distinguish themselves more than others for how they’ve managed the escalating supply chain headaches and effects of the Delta variant.

Why it matters: The blistering pace of economic growth is expected to have slowed in Q3. That will show up earnings, which began trickling out last week.