At the same time, pressure is mounting on world leaders ahead of the COP26 international climate talks to rapidly reduce the use of fossil fuels, including natural gas. The gas shortage and sense of urgency around the climate crisis have raised an important question: Is there a better way to heat our homes?
Here’s what you need to know.
Green hydrogen: This fuel has also been touted as a clean alternative since it can be derived from sources like water, rather than fossil fuels, and is produced with renewable energy. But the fuel is still in development phase, and some experts say that using solar or wind energy to produce another fuel right now is a waste of precious renewables. Green hydrogen is widely seen as appropriate for heavy industry and large vehicles, like planes and ships.
Heat pumps: There are becoming a popular alternative. There are two main types — air source heat pumps, which extract heat from the air, and ground source heat pumps, which extract heat from the ground — and both work essentially like the reverse of a refrigerator.
“If the government wants a chance to catch up, it needs a proper strategy and enough cash to clean up our homes on a massive scale. This means substantial grants for heat pump installations, especially for the poorest families, removing VAT on green home technologies and a phase out of gas boilers early next decade,” said Greenpeace UK’s policy director, Doug Parr.
The UK government is due to set out its plans to cut carbon emissions from homes in a policy paper in the coming weeks, ahead of the COP26 summit.
Read More: Gas boilers fuel millions of homes. But what can replace them in a greener future?