Gas, climate and injustice
Many of us rely on oil or gas to heat our homes, heat water, and use gas to cook. It’s time to say enough! Although natural gas (more accurately called fossil gas or fracked gas) has been a relatively inexpensive energy source for home heating, use of gas is a serious problem.
Gas combustion heats our planet and puts toxic pollutants into the air. Methane leaks at every stage of its production and use — wells, pipelines, compressor stations, neighborhood pipes, homes and buildings — contribute to the climate emergency and endanger our health.
The damage caused by gas doesn’t affect all of us equally. Poor people and people of color are more likely than others to live near gas infrastructure, breathe unvented fumes from gas stoves, and suffer from pollution-related diseases. Heat waves, wildfires, storms, floods and drought — all supercharged by climate change — are visiting disproportionate harm on people who did little to cause the problem.
Young people and future generations are also victims of environmental injustice. Unless we promptly stop burning gas and other fossil fuels, the next generation will live on a planet very different from the one we inherited.
Nearly one-fourth of Seattle’s carbon emissions originate in our homes and other buildings. We aren’t solving the problem. Greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas use in residential and commercial buildings in Seattle rose 12 percent during the most recent reporting period, 2016 to 2018 (City of Seattle, 2018 Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory).