jm + decarbonization   1

The false promise of “renewable natural gas”
RNG [renewable natural gas] can, depending on feedstock and circumstances, be low or even zero-carbon. Utilities argue that ramping up the production of RNG and blending it with normal natural gas in pipelines can reduce [greenhouse gases] faster and cheaper than electrifying buildings. By pursuing electrification, they say, regulators are pushing unnecessary cost hikes onto consumers.

It would be nice for the utilities if this were true. But it’s not. RNG is not as low-carbon as the industry claims and its local air and water impacts are concentrated in vulnerable communities. Even if it were low-carbon and equitable, there simply isn’t enough of it to substitute for more than a small fraction of natural gas. And even if it were low-carbon, equitable, and abundant, it still wouldn’t be an excuse to expand natural gas infrastructure or slow electrification.

It isn’t a close call. The research is clear: Especially in a temperate climate like California, RNG is not a viable alternative for decarbonizing buildings. It is a desperate bid by natural gas utilities to delay their inevitable decline. Policymakers would be foolish to fall for it.
decarbonization  carbon  climate-change  rng  renewables  natural-gas  pollution  environment 
6 weeks ago by jm

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