Even a coal furnace would be better for the planet – and for you – than a gas one.
Thinking about replacing your old 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. Here’s why:
Gas (methane) emissions do far more climate damage.
Burning coal emits more carbon dioxide (C02) than gas, but burning gas emits methane (CH4) – a powerful greenhouse gas that traps 80 times more heat in the atmosphere than CO2.
Gas (methane) leaks constantly on its way to your house.
From the moment gas is produced – by fracking or drilling – it starts leaking into the atmosphere, speeding global warming. Estimates of the percentage of gas produced in the U.S. that leaks into the atmosphere range from 2-4%.
Gas producers refuse to spend the extra money to prevent 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.
The leaking continues all the way to your house: from pipelines to urban gas mains to the pipes under your street.
By contrast, even coal doesn’t leak greenhouse supergases.
Gas (methane) releases harmful, undetectable fumes into your house.
Even when ‘properly vented,’ burning gas in your house releases pollutants that are dangerous to your health – nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter.
Burning coal would release these harmful pollutants too, but at least you’d know to get out of the house because you’d be able to smell, see or taste them.
That’s why you should stop using gas.
Of course I’m not serious about coal furnaces, you should electrify instead. But it’s not an exaggeration: gas does just as much damage to the climate and your health as coal, and most people don’t understand this.
So if you have to make a decision about replacing a gas furnace or appliance, please go electric instead.