Zurich turns off gas to fight climate change and Russia : NPR

The city of Zurich, Switzerland, is shutting down the gas supply to some neighborhoods. Originally aimed at fighting climate change and saving money, it’s also a step to cut gas imports from Russia.

Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images

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Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images

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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