European officials are debating whether they can stop buying natural gas imports from Russia. Many say it can’t be done. But the biggest city in Switzerland – Zurich – is already taking ambitious steps to wean itself off gas. It’s shutting down the flow of gas to whole parts of the city.
Zurich started down this path a decade ago in order to save money and fight climate change. The plan provoked controversy at first. Today, as the city’s residents install alternatives to gas heating, there appears to be broad support for the switch – in part because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. About half of Switzerland’s natural gas supply currently comes from Russia.
“Attitudes have changed once again, dramatically,” says Rainer Schöne, a spokesman for Energie 360°, Zurich’s city-owned gas utility. “Today, it’s clear; people want to, and have to, move away from fossil gas.”
Zurich’s experience may offer lessons to other cities around the world that are encouraging residents to switch away from natural gas appliances – but are not, so far, shutting down the infrastructure that delivers it.
A rocky start, but then, wide acceptance
Zurich’s move to abandon…
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