Thinking about replacing your ‘natural’ gas furnace with a new gas furnace? Don’t do it. Keeping gas in the ground is one of the most important things we can do to stave off climate catastrophe.
Even a coal furnace would be better for the planet – and for you – than natural gas in your home. Here’s why:
Gas (methane) emissions do far more climate damage.
Burning coal emits more carbon dioxide (C02) than natural gas, but natural gas emits methane (CH4) – a powerful greenhouse gas which traps 80 times more heat in the atmosphere than CO2.
Gas (methane) leaks constantly on its way to your house.
From the moment natural gas is produced – by fracking or drilling – it starts leaking into the atmosphere, speeding global warming.
Oil and gas companies refuse to spend the extra money to prevent tons of methane spewing into the air from their wells, and regulators and politicians in places like Texas and Eastern Europe refuse to force them to do so.
And the leaking continues all the way to your house: from long-haul pipelines to urban gas mains to the pipes leading to your house.
By contrast, even coal wouldn’t leak greenhouse supergases all the way to your house.
Gas (methane) releases harmful, undetectable fumes into your house.
Even when ‘properly vented,’ burning gas in your house releases air pollutants that are dangerous to your health – including nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter.
By contrast, burning coal would release these harmful pollutants too, but at least you’d know to get out of the house because you’ll be able to smell, see or taste them.
In other words, stop using gas!
Of course I’m not serious about using coal… you should electrify instead. But it’s not that big a stretch… gas does just as much damage to the climate (and peoples’ health) as coal – if not more – and most people just don’t understand this.
So if you (or someone you know) has to make a decision about replacing a gas furnace or appliance, please go electric instead.
Gas is far more destructive than you think. Stopping its extraction and use is one of the biggest things we can do to slow down climate change.