|Gas Vs Electric|
Myth #1 – Natural gas is a clean energy alternative to coal generated electricity.
Don’t be fooled by the natural in natural gas, technically it is natural (like all fossil fuels) as it is formed from organic plant and animal matter that has been subject to heat and pressure over thousands of years, however it is not renewable, the drilling, extraction and pipelining often leads to release of methane (a serious GHG) and it’s combustion leads to carbon emissions. One report says 8% of all gas (methane) is being lost to the atmosphere during transfer from the gas fields to our homes and this unburnt gas can be 100 times more damaging to the climate than carbon generated from its combustion.
Myth #2 – Natural gas is cheap (compared to electricity).
Once upon a time this was true but it has now moved in the fiction category. Natural gas has been sold to homeowners as a clean, efficient and cheap alternative to electricity especially when used for household water heating and cooking requirements which may have been true a number of years age (except for the ‘clean’ bit, see myth #1). Recent advances in modern appliances such electric heat pumps for space heating, electric hot water heat pumps and induction cooktops have completely blown natural gas out of the water in terms of efficiency, running costs and emissions!...even when using conservative figures AND not including any fugitive emissions associated with extraction and pipelining the gas to the user (A past guest of ours Matthew Wright has published his research on this exact topic).
So Natural Gas is neither environmentally cleaner NOR cheaper to use anymore AND as we heard on this week’s show, the price is almost certain to rise by 200-300% in the near future once the gas export terminals are completed off the Queensland coast (right on the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef mind you).
To really nail this one on the head in terms of what energy source to use, electricity or gas? Using electricity from the grid, generated from the burning of coal is more environmentally friendly in terms of emissions and it is also better on your hip pocket. This feels like a kind of half win where we have chosen the lesser of two carbon emitting evils, however we can make this a WIN WIN by using a renewable power source like Solar PV to power our electric appliances and voilà, no emissions, no operating costs, just an upfront investment with incredibly fast payback.
|Not quite what we mean by solar powered cooking but hey, this could work!|
Listen to the show to hear more about why gas prices will rise and also hear from an expert psychologist on why humans are wired to ignoring the impacts of climate change.Here are the links to the ABC Radio National interviews we played on our show:
Gas Prices – ABC Radio National, Saturday Extra with Geraldine Doogue speaking to Giles Parkinson, originally broadcast on 12 July 2014 and then repeated on 3 January 2015.
Ignoring Climate Change – ABC Radio National, Late Night Live presented by Phillip Adams speaking with George Marshall, broadcast 4 February 2015.
Next week, we are chatting to Paul Gale-Baker about all things Permaculture. Not sure what that is? Well tune in to find out!Music from this week:
Through The Roof by Hermitude
Paper Heart’s by Em George
Listen Up by Dark Fair