Voters are Ready to Switch Off Gas...
...For Good Reason
Ten years ago, natural gas was touted as a climate solution for transitioning the power sector off of coal. Today, it’s clear gas is a climate problem: The gas industry releases far more methane than anticipated and now emits more carbon dioxide than coal. The good news is cheap solar and wind, combined with battery storage, now provide a truly clean solution.
Burned by Gas
The following summarizes the problems associated with our continued reliance on gas.
Gas Causes Climate Change
Gas has overtaken coal as the largest source of heat-trapping carbon pollution in the U.S. power sector and new research shows the gas industry leaks far more methane (a super potent greenhouse gas) than previously thought. The good news is we have the technology to quickly and cheaply cut gas industry emissions – and achieve enormous climate benefits.
Gas Hurts People
Americans are regularly killed, injured, sickened, and otherwise harmed by natural gas. Explosions and other significant incidents along gas pipelines occur roughly every three days. Gas pollutes the air – both indoors and outdoors – increasing and aggravating lung diseases such as asthma. And fracking for gas has depleted and contaminated water supplies, exposed workers and communities to radioactive chemicals, and caused a spike in earthquakes.
Gas is a Risky Bet
The gas industry is in serious trouble – and that was true before the coronavirus pandemic. After years of failing to turn a profit, the industry lost critical support on Wall Street in 2019, accelerating a decline in oil and gas jobs that began in late 2018. Meanwhile, renewable energy is poised to outcompete gas on price here and abroad, calling into question risky bets on new pipelines and other infrastructure to export gas.
Putting Out The Flame
The following describes opportunities in the electricity and building sectors to leave gas in the past.
Renewable Energy Can Replace Gas for Electricity
Over the last decade, the United States moved away from coal and became heavily reliant on gas for electricity generation. Yet advancements in solar and wind energy, combined with battery storage technologies, have changed the game.
Now we have clean alternatives that can provide reliable electricity at all hours of the day at an even cheaper price than gas. This puts a zero-emission grid within reach.
We Can Run Buildings Entirely on Clean Electricity
Electric alternatives for space and water heating, cooking, and other purposes now provide a practical and affordable pathway to eliminate gas use from buildings, which accounts for almost a third of all gas consumed in the United States.
Leading cities and states have already started to transition. A nationwide electrification push promises to create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and – despite gas industry propaganda about “renewable natural gas” – is our only option to meaningfully reduce carbon pollution from the building sector.