This story was originally published by High Country News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Gunnison, Colorado, at 7,700 feet above sea level, sees some of the coldest temperatures in the Lower 48. Its 6,000 or so inhabitants, especially low-income residents in older, poorly insulated housing, use more energy — often from natural gas — than their lowland counterparts.
Last year, Gunnison’s city government proposed cutting both greenhouse gas emissions and utility bills by making new homes more efficient and less reliant on fossil fuels.
But Gunnison soon encountered the same obstacle that other communities do when they try to move toward electric heat pumps, stoves and water heaters: natural gas providers.
By vigorously campaigning against electrification policies in what are normally local battles, national natural gas utilities have opened a new front in the decarbonization struggle: building codes.<... Read more