In its “World Energy Outlook 2015,” the International Energy Agency outlined current trends in global energy and called for clear strategies and initiatives for achieving sustainable energy objectives. World demand for energy is expected to increase by more than 30 percent by 2040, driven by developing countries, highlighting the importance of finding responsible solutions to global energy needs.

While much of the IEA report focused on current expansion of clean energy technology, natural gas will also play a major role in meeting the world’s energy demand. Under the IEA’s 450 Scenario, an “ambitious” plan to meet climate goals, natural gas is expected to grow substantially until the mid-2020s and stay level until 2040. The report placed natural gas as the current fastest growing fossil fuel, with demand expected to reach 5.2 trillion cubic centimeters by 2040 – bringing gas on parity with coal and oil in the global energy mix.

The International Gas Union (IGU), the global association to promote progress in the gas industry, released a statement saying that it “welcomes the positive outlook for the gas sector outlined in the 2015 World Energy Outlook.” The organization urged policymakers to develop strategies which take into account “the role natural gas should play in the transition to a sustainable energy future.”

David Carroll, President of the IGU stated: “Economic growth goes hand in hand with growing demand for natural gas. By increasing the use of natural gas in the power generation and transport sectors, quality of life will be greatly enhanced.”

The IGU, however, called for a greater and clearer role for gas in the future of the global energy mix. The organization called for policies to promote greater use of gas in transportation and power generation, which it says will help reach international climate goals. Carrol stated that “the best way to reduce emissions dramatically today is to switch to natural gas. From coal to natural gas in power generation, and in greater use of natural gas in the transport sector.”