MARY GRAY is an environmental scientist who was awarded the OAM in this year’s Queen’s birthday honours for her service to conservation and the environment. In this piece she reminds us gas is a fossil fuel and has some thoughts on how householders and government ought get out of gas.
WITH so much media attention focusing on the shortage of domestic gas supply in the eastern states, but which is not the case here in WA, it is poignant for us in the west to consider our domestic use of gas, especially in cities and towns.
It is well recognised that climate action is needed across all sectors.
Gas is a fossil fuel and it needs to be replaced by renewable energy.
As individual householders, we can each act to reduce our use of fossil fuels, and thus contribute to climate action by reducing emissions.
Do we use gas for our kitchen cooktops, for hot water heating, or for room heating?
The only use of gas for many householders is for gas cooktops. Notably gas use also produces some polluting emissions that are harmful to human health, so good extractor fans and ventilation is essential.
This is especially so for young children, but many parents are unaware of this.
It is time to change and remove gas cooktops and replace them with electric cooktops.
Notably the popular induction cooktops, which when in use do produce an electromagnetic field immediately around them which is not good for our human bodies. Ordinary electric cooktops do not have this problem.
Installing solar hot water units can replace gas hot water units.
After the initial capital cost, they supply free hot water, and only need an electric boost sometimes in winter.
Gas heaters seem to have gone out of fashion.
They too produce indoor emissions that are harmful to human health, so on these grounds alone are not acceptable. Most premises now use reverse cycle air conditioners.
So for those householders who only have gas cooktops, ‘getting out of gas’ by switching to electric cooktops is an easy option to help reduce our collective community emissions.
Local cafes should also make this shift which will benefit air quality for their chefs and kitchen workers, as well as patrons seated nearby.
If each household in a suburban street collectively joins the move to ‘getting out of gas’, and shifting to all electric appliances, the whole street can be cut off from gas supply.
Also adding solar panels and solar hot water services will help the shift to 100 per cent renewables.
Given that the City of Vincent has declared a “climate emergency”, it would be fitting for the City to encourage and support these moves, and also to do the same on their buildings. In approving renovations to houses, commercial premises, and for new buildings, gas appliances should not be permitted and indeed be expressly prohibited.
Solar panels on rooftops should be required to be installed.