Does it seem odd that in a gas price crisis, there are people arguing we should dig ourselves deeper into the grip of that particular fuel? We’ve been here before – and it never ends well. A poorly regulated banking system crashes and its defenders say that even less rules are needed to recover. Or, house prices go through the roof and instead of controlling property speculation, more money is poured into the market without building more homes.
In the grip of yet another fossil fuel price crisis, there are already voices saying that we need more of what got us into the mess in order to escape it. It’s like thinking, ‘my head hurts because I knocked it, if I hit it even harder the second knock will take away the pain of the first.’ When it comes to the energy issue, some seem incapable of even imagining a situation in which economies stop hitting themselves on the head with further fossil fuel addiction.
And, that’s a shame, because there’s an abundance of evidence of the ability to shift rapidly to much less economically and ecologically painful energy systems.
Collaborating with UK research body Nesta, the Rapid Transition Alliance looked at several cases of successful escape pathways from dependence on gas, with all its pollution and price volatility.
The first flush of transition
Gas is still a very common fuel used for heating homes, being literally plumbed into our daily lives. The idea that this could change quickly is hard to grasp. But it’s easy to forget how recently and radically home life has changed in many European homes. Only two generations ago, one in four homes in England and Wales still lacked an indoor shower, bath or toilet. In just over two decades, that number fell to 1%.
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