Can PGW Accelerate Philadelphia’s Clean Energy Transition?
The city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) acquires, stores, and distributes natural gas to churches, libraries, schools, industry, restaurants, other businesses, and residences in the city of Philadelphia. The gas is used for heating, hot water, cooking, and industrial processes. PGW employees install and repair the network of underground pipes that deliver gas to consumers. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a fossil fuel. When burned it produces CO2, the major greenhouse gas. When natural gas leaks along the way from well to consumer it contributes to global warming because methane itself is a significant greenhouse gas. Natural gas is a large part of Philadelphia’s carbon footprint.
In order to avoid ever worsening effects of climate change, the UN’s IPCC says we must cut in half our use of fossil fuels by 2030 and eliminate them entirely by 2050. What can and should be PGW’s response to this requirement? How do we wean Philadelphia from its natural gas addiction?
The discussion leader at our April PA IPL Philadelphia Chapter meeting is Mitch Chanin. Mitch is a long time Philadelphia climate activist. He was a leader in the opposition to SEPTA developing a gas-fired electric generating station in the Nicetown section of Philadelphia. Mitch is the co-chair of the Climate Justice Caucus at Reclaim Philadelphia and is also a member of Philly Thrive and Philly DSA. As a volunteer with POWER Interfaith, Mitch is a member of the PGW Just Transition campaign team and has presented testimony to the Philadelphia Gas Commission. We will be talking about the work that has gone on in this area and about the pros and cons of different options for reducing Philadelphia’s reliance on natural gas and encouraging the use of clean, renewable energy.
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