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Clean Air Advocates Slam Move Toward "Renewable" Natural Gas

Conservation advocates argue that we need to go all-electric and transition away from using natural gas for heating. (Donnie B/Morguefile)
Conservation advocates argue that we need to go all-electric and transition away from using natural gas for heating. (Donnie B/Morguefile)
July 16, 2020

HARTFORD, Conn. - Proposals to transition from natural gas to so-called "renewable" gas won't solve our emissions problems - according to a new report.

The report - from Earthjustice and the Sierra Club - is called Rhetoric vs. Reality: The myth of "renewable natural gas" for building decarbonization.

Sasan Saadat, research and policy analyst with Earthjustice, says gas produced from decomposing lagoons of animal waste on factory farms creates too much air and water pollution - and it can't come close to meeting the current demand.

"At its most, it could only replace about 13% of our total gas use," says Saadat. "And of course we need to get to zero emissions by 2050."

The current system of fracking natural gas - and then transporting it through leaky pipelines - results in huge emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

Large gas companies have begun publicizing plans to repurpose existing infrastructure to cleaner fossil gas alternatives.

However, Saadat argues that we need to stop relying on gas altogether and move toward all-electric homes, buildings and appliances.

"We have to change the way we heat our homes and heat our food and heat our hot water," says Saadat. "Power them with zero emission electricity that can benefit from solar and wind energy. "

The report does support the use of hydrogen or biogas for sectors that cannot be electrified, such as aviation, shipping and industrial steel production.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CT