Demand for natural gas is expected to be higher than the demand for coal by the year 2030.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported on Tuesday that, 12 years from now, gas will be the world’s second largest energy fuel, after oil. This would be a result of efforts to reduce air pollution and increased use of liquefied natural gas, the agency predicted.

The IEA report said that energy demand would grow by more than 25 percent between 2017 and 2040 if people use energy more efficiently. Demand would rise by at least 50 percent without such improvements, it added.

The estimates are based on the IEA’s “New Policies Scenario” model. It considers legislation and policies to reduce pollution and fight climate change. The estimates also consider more energy efficiencies in fuel use, buildings and other things.

The report said, “Natural gas is the fastest growing fossil fuel in the New Policies Scenario, overtaking coal by 2030 to become the second-largest…energy after oil.”

China is currently the biggest oil and coal importer in the world. It would soon become the largest importer of gas, the IEA predicted. The report said that the level of Chinese imports would be similar to those of the European Union by 2040.

The Reuters news agency examined information from China’s General Administration of Customs. Reuters found that China is already importing more natural gas than Japan, the world’s top importer of gas.

China is the world’s third-biggest user of natural gas, following the United States and Russia. China imports about 40 percent of its natural gas because local production cannot provide as much as the country needs.

Developing economies in Asia make up about half of worldwide gas demand growth. Their share of liquefied natural gas imports would double to 60 percent by 2040, the IEA report said.

When gas is cooled, it can be turned into a liquid and transported by ship.

The report noted the demand for natural gas is not yet as great as the demand for oil. But it said gas is now being shipped to new markets.

Coal and carbon

The United States could be responsible for 40 percent of total gas production growth until 2025, the IEA said. But U.S. companies are recovering less gas from shale rock formations. The report noted that other nations are turning to untraditional methods of gas production, such as fracking.

Worldwide electricity demand will grow 2.1 percent a year, mostly pushed up by greater use in developing countries. Electricity will make up 25 percent of energy used by consumers and businesses by 2040, it said.

The IEA believes that the use of coal will fall from about 40 percent today to 25 percent in 2040. Wind power and other renewable energy would grow to over 40 percent during the period.

However, the world’s coal-burning power centers cause 33 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Many of those power plants are in Asia, where average coal plants are usually about 11 years old with many years left to operate. In the United States and Europe, coal plants operate for about 40 years.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.


efficient (adj.) /ɪˈfɪʃənt/ - capable of producing desired results without wasting materials, time, or energy

  • efficient machinery


scenario (n.) /səˈnerijoʊ/ - a description of what could possibly happen

  • A possible scenario would be that we move to the city.


emission (n.) /iˈmɪʃən/ - the act of producing or sending out something (such as energy or gas) from a source

  • emission of light


fossil (n.) /ˈfɑːsəl/ - something (such as a leaf, skeleton, or footprint) that is from a plant or animal which lived in ancient times and that you can see in some rocks

  • a dinosaur fossil


consumer (n.)  /kənˈsuːmɚ/ - a person who buys goods and services

  • Many consumers are still not comfortable making purchases on the Internet.


fracking (n.) - a method used for getting oil and gas from underground rocks by injecting liquid into the rocks so that they break apart


Exercise 2


Answer these questions about the article.

  1. Is a higher demand for coal expected?
  2. How much will energy demand rise?
  3. What is fracking?
  4. How much CO2 does coal produce?



Exercise 3

Make a sentence.

Make sentences using these words.

efficient, scenario, fossil, consumer



Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.

  1. How are you heating your home?
  2. What do you think is the fuel of the future?
  3. Are renewable resources the way we must do?
  4. Will fossil fuels ever run out?


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by learningenglish.voanews.