Step Off the Gas: Access to renewable energy in Global South starting to eclipse fossil fuel legitimacy

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The Step Off the Gas report examines international public finance for natural gas expansion in the Global South and the choices countries face in how to develop their energy systems while meeting socioeconomic needs. The report assesses economic and environmental risks from gas development, the status of alternatives to gas, and how to overcome challenges for the South in developing clean energy. It has detailed case studies of gas in three emerging economies: Argentina, Egypt and India. Below is the executive summary.
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Greg Muttitt is Senior Policy Adviser, Energy Supply, at the IISD. Shruti Sharma is an Associate and Energy Specialist in the IISD's Energy programme and the India Project Coordinator. Mostafa Mostafa is an IISD policy adviser. Kjell Kühne is research co-author, founder and director of Leave it in the Ground. Alex Doukas is Senior Consultant for the KR Foundation. Ivetta Gerasimchuk directs the sustainable energy activities of the IISD's Energy Programme and its Global Subsidies Initiative. Joachim Roth is a policy analyst with the IISD's Energy team. The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) report, Step Off the Gas: International public finance, natural gas and clean alternatives in the Global South examines the choices countries face in how to develop their energy systems while meeting socioeconomic needs.

The report finds that:

Gas projects in low- and middle-income countries are receiving more international public finance than any other energy source: four times as much as wind or solar.

This investment risks driving a new dash for gas that locks countries into a high-carbon pathway, imperilling their economic future and the global climate.

Gas is not needed, as renewable-based alternatives for most of its uses are either already cheaper or are expected to be within a few years.

Renewable electricity is an increasingly cost-competitive and effective means of providing clean cooking, helped by improvements in the efficiency of electric stoves and devices.

Countries in the Global South need greater international support to finance clean energy projects, including to help integrate renewables into often weak or unstable electricity grids.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed how rapid global change can affect countries in deeply inequitable ways and the importance of building resilient and socially just economies. As economic resources remain constrained in the coming years, it will be vital that…
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