No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure…say what?

We’ve been asking for No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure. What does this mean?

Firstly, if we’re making capital investments i.e. spending large amounts of money for something that’ll last a long while, we shouldn’t be betting that money on fossil fuels. When we say fossil fuels we mean coal, oil & gas. Our demands are of our government & corporations, typically the ones who invest in infrastructure like mining, piping and constructing power plants. Our awareness, however, can be understood at other levels also.

Recently, as the gas powered boiler was warming up our home, I heard an unusual noise and sent my partner to the basement to investigate, stating that if it’s time to replace the boiler, we’re going electric. The immediate response was that it’s still winter; that we’ll need to replace the gas boiler with an equivalent; that it’s imperative.

I took a deep breathe, and repeated: No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure. This means us. We’ll manage with space heaters until we get the radiant electric heaters installed. It’ll be better because we’ll, in effect, have zoning for each room, resulting in more comfort. We’ll be able to drag away the cast iron radiators in each room, and finally put armchairs by the sunny windows. There will be more room in the basement.

This discussion can also be taken outside the home. I recently read a story of a boiler explosion at a nearby school, sending a man to hospital. This incident resulted in a commitment from our politicians to update all school boilers. I think they haven’t got the memo about No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure.  These fuels are dangerous & unhealthy when we mine them, dangerous & unhealthy when we transport them, and dangerous & unhealthy when we consume them. Why are we still betting our lives on them? Especially when we have the option to electrify everything, and generate electricity to power everything from the wind and the sun?

As to the gas boiler in my home, the frightening noise was from too much air in the radiators, which the ever handy partner resolved by bleeding the system. So we’re back to minimal heat from the gas boiler, supplemented by electric space heaters powered by Pennsylvania wind farms. Someday soon, we’ll be fully powered by solar farms within Philadelphia.

Now at least our household concurs for when it’s time to replace the gas boiler in our basement: No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure. Not in our name.  Not with our money.

photo from https://www.audubon.org/news/how-one-city-banned-fossil-fuels-sort
Climate change protesters gathered outside City Hall in Portland, Ore., on November 4, 2015, ahead of a City Council vote to oppose coal, liquefied natural gas and propane export facilities, as well as oil trains passing through the city. (Photo by Alex Milan Tracy)