The campaign to ban gas stoves is heating up

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Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman commented on the New York Times's "Postcards From A World On Fire" and commented on the legislation behind addressing a topic as large as climate change.

What is happening?

Over the past three years, dozens of cities across the country have banned natural gas hookups in newly constructed buildings as part of a growing campaign to reduce carbon emissions from homes. New York City's outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law a ban on gas hookups in new buildings.

The policy debate often focuses on the kitchen, since new laws apply to the entire home. Gas stove use has become a proxy for a larger fight over how far efforts to curb at- home natural gas consumption should go in the name of fighting climate change.

Fossil fuel emissions from residential and commercial buildings account for 80% of the total. A study estimated that New York's ban on its own would create an emissions reduction comparable to taking 450,000 cars off the road. The movement has faced significant opposition. Many people are resistant to changing to an electric range in their homes because they use gas for cooking. The gas industry launched a massive lobbying campaign that helped convince 19 Republican-led states to prevent local governments from banning natural gas.

There is a movement to phase out gas stoves because of the harmful pollutants they release inside the home. Nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde are chemicals that have been linked with asthma and other health conditions and are released when cooking on a gas stove. A study found that gas stoves can create levels of nitrogen dioxide that are above the legal limits.

There is a debate.

One part of the debate is about the environmental harms of at- home natural gas consumption in general, and the other is about the indoor pollution caused by gas cooktops.

Climate change activists think gas bans are a way to reduce greenhouse gases in buildings, which make up about 13 percent of the US's emissions. They argue that clean alternatives to gas, appliances, and stoves are readily available to most consumers, unlike technologies like a green power grid and electric vehicles. Critics of the bans are skeptical of how much they will really reduce emissions, worry about increasing costs for homeowners and argue that market-based solutions will be most effective at promoting a transition to electrified homes.

Gas stoves are too toxic to be installed in new homes, according to advocates. They want governments to create financial incentives to help homeowners switch to electric or induction stove, which they say will save money and help prevent health problems.

The gas industry believes that gas stoves can be safe. Conservatives don't like the idea of the government limiting individual choice. Some argue that focusing on gas stove will only increase resistance to electrification.

What is next?

The list of cities that will ban gas hookups in new construction is expected to grow in the coming years. No statewide bans have been put in place. California is the closest. Next year, all new homes in the state will have to be wired so they are electric ready even if they have gas appliances. The governor of New York has proposed a statewide ban on smoking.


People who support the cause.

The only way to meaningfully reduce emissions from the home is by banning gas.

When equally effective, affordable, and pollution-free alternatives are available, managing harmful pollution becomes a little silly for the individual homeowner. It is time to make new buildings all-electric and switch out all those existing gas appliances for electric alternatives.

Gas stoves are an entry point for the effort toelectrify homes.

The humble stove is one of the most personal, immediate and tangible parts of a big problem. It is one of the easiest to change.

A shift away from gas could be aided by legal limits and financial incentives.

Subsidies and regulation could speed things up. If the state provided a big credit for property owners to replace their gas stoves, with particular attention on older stoves in apartment buildings, and set up new regulations on the amount of air pollution appliances could produce that would gradually tighten over time, gas cooking could be made more efficient.

Our health is affected by gas stoves.

Cooking is the most harmful way to pollution your home. It can cause respiratory and cardiovascular health problems, and it can cause flu and asthma in children.

One of the few climate transitions that can be done right now is the electrification of homes.

Most of the technology to replace furnaces with heat pumps, hot water heaters with electric boilers, and gas stoves with induction cooktops is already available to real estate developers. One of the few areas where cities and towns have the power to push through deep emission cuts is because of their control of building and energy codes.

Leaving climate change up to the free market is not in the best interests of the planet.

The pursuit of market-based solutions is likely to be impractical and ethically dubious. Market-based solutions have not achieved their desired goals, thus new ways of thinking need to emerge.


Consumers are robbed of their freedom to choose what to have in their homes.

The gas stove is the next target for elimination. If the Left gets control of everything, they would ban new manufacture nationwide and then ban its replacement and ownership.

The free market will help promote a transition from gas.

If the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions was to be achieved, there would be no need to mandate building electrification if it were already cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives.

Attacking gas stoves is a great way to stop people from using electricity.

Home kitchens account for 0.4% of U.S. natural gas use. Gas cooking is likely to be the biggest obstacle to the effort to make the American home more energy efficient. Why is that happening? People like cooking with gas. It is one of the few energy uses that inspire brand loyalty.

Without a green energy grid, gas bans will increase emissions.

It has become the transitional fuel of our time, allowing the U.S. to quickly ditch coal while giving renewable energy time to grow. Natural gas is banned in residential construction once renewable energy has reached a certain scale. The proposals are increasing our carbon footprint until then.

Critics make gas stoves out to be harmful.

If you replace your stove, it is a good idea to avoid gas. Ventilating your kitchen will have a bigger impact than energizing your space- and water- heating systems.

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The illustration is from Yahoo News.