Methane gas from Washington Gas is burned and leaked across DC. It accounts for about 20% of DC’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to official estimates, but the real numbers are likely far higher. DC’s electricity is increasingly moving to clean sources like wind and solar, but gas remains dirty as ever.
When methane gas is burned, it produces carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. When released directly into the atmosphere, methane is 84 times more powerful as a global warming agent than carbon dioxide, making gas leaks a serious threat to the climate. Research shows methane leaks from gas utilities, including Washington Gas, are likely double the official estimates.
Worse still, there’s serious methane leakage before the gas even gets to our utility. Those emissions – from fracking the gas, processing and transporting it – are 60% higher than EPA estimates, according to a study published in the journal Science.
DC’s climate goals – 50% emissions reductions by 2032 and carbon neutrality by 2050 – will never be met if we continue our reliance on gas.
So what’s the solution? Moving away from gas to heat our buildings, and instead using high efficiency heat pumps, which produce zero emissions and are three to six times more efficient than gas.