A local resident rides past an abandoned Russian tank marked Z near Kharkiv in Ukraine on September 30, 2022

Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt) (AFP) - The global scramble for natural gas after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, scientists said Thursday on the sidelines of UN climate talks in Egypt.

Projected emissions from Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects under construction, approved and proposed up to 2050 would eat up a big chunk of humanity’s carbon budget for a 1.5C world, analysis from research NGO Climate Action Tracker showed.

The energy crisis spurred by restricted supply from Russia has seen a major push to expanded LNG production and import capacity in Europe, Africa, North America, Asia and Australia.

“The world has overreached in its bid to respond to the energy crisis,” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics, which contributed to the report.

Maps showing the impact of 1.5 degree Celsius vs 3 degree global warming in terms of number of days with maximum temperature above 35ºC, change in number of frost days and change in sea ice concentration.

“Our analysis shows proposed, approved and under construction LNG far exceeds what’s needed to replace Russian gas.”

In 2030, LNG could surge 500 million tonnes, equivalent to nearly five times the European Union’s 2021 Russian gas imports, and double total global Russian exports.

The resulting emissions – some two billion tonnes of CO2 every year by 2030 – is incompatible with pathways to a carbon neutral world by mid-century, including one laid out by the intergovernmental International Energy Agency (IEA).

- ‘Emergency mode’ -

Greenpeace activists seek to block a Russian gas shipment from being offloaded in Finland on September 17, 2022

“Increasing our reliance on fossil gas cannot be the solution to today’s climate and energy crises anywhere,” Hare said.

Annual projections of how much government plans and pledges will curb global warming show virtually no movement compared to year ago.

Few governments have increased their short-term targets or made new longer horizon “net zero” commitments since the COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021.

All countries honouring their carbon pledges so far under the 2015 Paris treaty would see the rise in global temperatures top out at 2.4C above pre-industrial levels.

With nearly 1.2C of warming to date, the world has seen a rapid crescendo of deadly and costly heat waves, floods, droughts and storm surges made worse by rising seas.

French fire-fighting aircraft fly over burning forests near Gignac, southern France on July 26, 2022 as the country endured a dry summer with blazes destroying numerous forests

2022 has been a year of climate havoc, with Pakistan still underwater after flooding submerged a third of the country in August.

This year has also seen wildfires raging across Europe, Russia and North America, and record heatwaves on three continents.

“With governments focussing on the energy crisis, this has been a year of little action on the climate,” said Niklas Hohne, an analyst at NewClimate Institute.

“To limit warming to 1.5C, countries need to flip to emergency mode on climate as they do on the energy crisis.”