The tenth part in a series looking at the actors and forces behind the adoption of Renewable Gas.
15. Sub-Sector Civil Society Action Takers (Continued)
Within history, even within living memory, gas supplied to consumers was made by gasifying coal or heavy oil. Known as “town gas”, it was mostly hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and hence poisonous. Gas was provided to townsfolk by city-scale gas plants, which were under municipal management. This model could perhaps be readopted, if cities are determined to regulate the embedded carbon emissions of gas supplies within their geographical jurisdiction.
This level of intervention is already being implemented in connection with transport. For example, civic events such as “Car Free Sundays” could become normalised, and could lead to redesigning urban spaces to be permanently carfree
Cities are already involved in measures to curb the numbers of certain kinds of car being driven in urban centres, such as Oxford, Hamburg, London and Paris; and it would be a logical extension of this level of local authority to request that all gas supplies and gas use within the city limits met climate change and air pollution criteria.
It’s a short leap to go from controlling vehicles to making requirements on fuelling by geography, for example, making sure that electric vehicle charging, and hydrogen and compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuelling stations are provided.
Where cities are ramping up action on climate change, after addressing the energy used by public buildings, the next level would be to exact controls on the carbon dioxide emissions of private dwellings and corporately-owned business properties. Whilst a tax could be seen as a high level of punitive interference, demands that energy companies supply green gas to consumers within the city boundaries could come to be seen as a reasonable and appropriate ask.
At the moment, action would be in terms of the provision of infrastructre; later on, it would become mandated. For example, cities such as Leeds are directly involved in projects to decarbonise the gas fuels used in the locality.