Natural Gas as a Transition fuel: Does Natural Gas Help or Hinder a Clean Energy Transition?

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CO2 emissions are getting close to the threshold of failing climate goals. A major percentage of these emissions are caused by electricity production. Scientists have been debating on the viability of using natural as a transition fuel while renewable energies emerge technologically and economically. Although, natural gas might help the clean energy transition with its direct effects, there are other indirect effects mentioned in the literature which are contrary to climate goals. This research categorizes the emerging themes in the literature to provide a clear understanding of the debate. The themes are shown in a dynamic framework, Causal Loop Diagrams, to reveal how direct and indirect effects of natural gas are working against each other. Finally, this research investigates how prominent theories on natural gas might play out by using a Conceptual Virtual Laboratory. Scientists converge on the fact that natural gas has positive direct effects on the clean energy transition. This research revealed how the unintended indirect effects might also hinder the clean energy transition in a dynamic framework. The computational model showed that there are sustainable pathways with natural gas, but we need to traverse this path carefully to avoid a technological dependency on fossil fuels.
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