Fossil fuels, primarily gas, are a fixture in millions of American homes and businesses, but the building sector’s climate impact hasn’t received the same scrutiny as coal and gas in the power sector or oil in the transportation sector.
Fortunately, that’s changing.
In 2019, more than 20 California cities jump-started a building decarbonization movement when they took steps to eliminate gas from new buildings, ensuring they will instead be constructed with electric appliances such as heat pumps. At the end of the year, Brookline, Massachusetts joined the movement, and more cities around the country are expected to enact electrification measures in 2020.
The gas industry is mobilizing to oppose these measures, setting the stage for local battles across the country. 2020 could mark a turning point for building-sector emissions, according to a new Rocky Mountain Institute analysis.
See the charts illustrating why a growing number of cities and states are turning their attention to fossil fuels in buildings and why the electrification movement is critical to addressing climate change.