Let’s get gas out of our buildings
Gas is risky for health, finances and the climate.
Gas is in over 200,000 buildings in Quebec
Gas provides 15% of the energy for Quebec buildings
- 63% Gas is responsible for 63% of GHG emissions from Quebec buildings
Currently present in more than 200,000 buildings in Quebec, natural gas constitutes 15% of the energy consumed by residential, commercial and institutional buildings. It is still widely used for heating, cooking and drying.
But this so-called "natural" gas is in fact a fossil fuel and is responsible for 63% of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the building sector in Quebec.
There are many risks of using gas in buildings - for health, finances and the climate.
Bad for health
There are significant respiratory health risks for children and people with health issues. A child living in a home with a gas stove has 42% greater chances to develop symptoms of asthma.
Toxic for the climate
Like all other fossil fuels, burning gas creates greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
Bills that can be surprising
The volatility of gas prices is definitely a factor to consider before choosing or replacing your heating system.
Alternatives exist that are better for your health, your wallet, the environment and the climate.
Équiterre is a member of the new coalition “Sortons le gaz!”.
The “Sortons le gaz!” coalition brings together environmental, union and citizen organizations with a goal to promote energy conservation and efficiency in the building sector while accelerating the transition of Quebec buildings to 100% renewable energy sources. It works to raise awareness on the impacts of natural gas on our health and our environment, to promote the advantages of replacing it and to publicize the ways of doing so by informing the public and decision-makers at all levels.
Several Quebec municipalities have initiated resolutions to get fossil gas out of our buildings. In December 2022, the mayors of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Otterburn Park, Petit-Saguenay, Prévost and Saint-Cuthbert adopted a resolution to accelerate the decarbonization of buildings. Drafted by the Centre québécois du droit de l'environnement (CQDE), the resolution calls on the Quebec government to plan for the rapid abandonment of natural gas in buildings and encourages municipal associations and MRCs to do so as well.
You can make a difference
Quebec can get rid of natural gas in residential, commercial and institutional buildings. You can help get gas out of Quebec buildings!
With this campaign we are calling on the Quebec government to plan to get natural gas out of buildings and we encourage municipal associations and MRCs to do so as well.
Let's get other municipalities to join this movement!
Encourage your municipality to get gas out of buildings in your area!
What is the purpose of this “Sortons le gaz” campaign?
The campaign addresses the myths spread by the gas industry, highlighting the health, environmental and financial risks of having natural gas in our homes and workplaces. It also proposes safer and more environmentally responsible alternatives.
The campaign also aims to support municipalities that are committed to decarbonizing buildings and to increase pressure on the Quebec government to regulate to prohibit connecting any new buildings to the gas network, as well as renewing existing equipment running on this fossil fuel.
It is a joint campaign with social, labour and environmental organizations. Please visit the microsite at Sortonslegaz.com for more information.
Is the natural gas distributed in Quebec a fossil fuel?
Renewable natural gas (RNG) represents about 1% of the volume in Energir's system and fossil natural gas represents about 99%. A regulation requires that the proportion of "gas from renewable sources" injected into the gas network reach 2% in 2023, 5% in 2025 and 10% in 2030. According to this regulation, 90% of natural gas consumed in 2030 will still be fossil gas, for needs that could, for the most part, be met by electricity.
How does natural gas contribute to global warming?
Natural gas contributes to global warming in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned (as do gasoline, fuel oil and diesel), but also as it escapes into the atmosphere as fugitive methane (CH4) emissions at all stages of its extraction, transportation, distribution, processing and combustion, as well as after the wells are shut in.
Even a low rate of fugitive emissions makes natural gas as damaging as and even more damaging than oil or coal because the global warming power of methane is 80 times that of CO2 over 20 years. In recent years, much research has shown that the fugitive emission rates reported by industry and accounted for by governments are grossly underestimated.
Why rush to get natural gas out of buildings?
In 2020, natural gas supplied 15% of the energy consumed by buildings and was responsible for 63% of the GHGs emitted by the buildings sector (5 Mt of GHGs, or 7% of Quebec's total GHG emissions, or the equivalent of what 1.6 million cars emit/year).
Reducing Quebec's total GHG emissions by 7% and achieving the complete decarbonization of heating and cooking in buildings would be possible if we prohibit the installation of gas-fired equipment in addition to withdrawing oil-fired equipment - the latter is already happening based on theRèglement sur les appareils de chauffage au mazout enacted in November 2021.
What do you think of Energir's decision to connect all new connections to renewable natural gas (RNG)?
Renewable natural gas (RNG) is composed mainly of methane, just like conventional natural gas. They have the same health issues for customers and users.
Because of its high price and scarcity, renewable natural gas (RNG) should be reserved for uses that cannot be electrified, such as many industrial uses.
The heating of buildings does not need fuel since it can be electrified, with a much higher efficiency than natural gas appliances, while offering the possibility of air conditioning and managing the increasing power demand.
Analyst, Climate Policy