The ACT Greens have announced measures to transition Canberra away from gas including stopping new gas infrastructure; removing incentives to install gas appliances; setting minimum standards for new gas appliances; mandating that replacement hot water systems must not be gas; and changing Building Code requirements to prohibit gas hot water services in new houses.
If we are going to shift to zero net emissions we do need to make a transition away from gas – even gas network providers are getting ready for this – and this should be part of a comprehensive community owned plan on how to get to zero net emissions. Gas has become much more expensive and already some new developments in Canberra do not have gas appliances. There are efficient and effective electrical appliances that can replace gas appliances, and we can do renewable emission-free electricity and we can’t do that with fossil fuel gas.
Election campaigns might not be the best place to throw ideas into the (gas) ring to get good policy. The Canberra Liberals have criticised the idea – Leader Jeremy Hanson is quoted as saying: “This is just grossly unfair … this is just going to cause disadvantage, this is going to cause … hardship for a lot of families out there that want to heat their homes or cook using gas.” The Liberals are potentially locking themselves into a death spiral of providing expensive infrastructure which never gets repaid because it does not get used for both environmental and economic reasons.
We need to take the politics out of climate change action. We need to work together to share solutions.