As gas price soars, people are looking for alternatives
- People of Europe and the US rely mostly on gas-fired boilers for heat and hot water
- Pressure is growing on world leaders ahead of the COP26 international climate conference
- Natural gas is mostly composed of a damaging greenhouse gas methane
Rising natural gas prices have increased the prospect of frigid homes and high energy bills for millions of people preparing to spend the winter in Europe and the United States, where most people rely on gas-fired boilers for heat and hot water.
Simultaneously, pressure is growing on world leaders ahead of the COP26 international climate conference to limit the usage of fossil fuels, especially natural gas, as quickly as possible.
As gas costs rise, several countries have been forced to restart coal facilities to cover the void in electricity production. However, there are more environmentally friendly options for powering your houses, such as rooftop solar panels, green hydrogen, and heat pumps.
While some countries, such as the United Kingdom, celebrate the end of coal use, they are increasing their use of natural gas, which isn't exactly a low-emissions fuel.
It is more efficient than coal and emits less CO2 when burned, but it is mostly composed of methane, a damaging greenhouse gas that may escape into the atmosphere through gas pipelines and abandoned wells and cause substantial warming. The United Nations Climate Change Report, released in August, underlined the critical need for reducing methane emissions.
Last year, the European Union and the United Kingdom generated more power using renewable energy than fossil fuels. At the same time, both the United States and the United Kingdom rely on gas for around 40% of their electricity.
The UK government has said that gas boilers would be prohibited in new-build homes beginning in 2025, with low-carbon heating systems being installed in their stead. It also aims to phase out the sale of new gas boilers beginning in 2035. In its Green Deal, the EU has laid out ambitious measures to help it reach a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
Senior Researcher Ellsworth-Krebs argues that rather than depending on individual families to make the transition to lower-carbon alternatives, the solution might be found in localized solutions such as district heating systems. District heating systems function by transferring heat from burning trash or geothermal activity, for example, to houses throughout a city or neighborhood via insulated pipes.