“The 360” shows you diverse perspectives on the major stories and debates of the day.
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. The move marked a last month, when outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law a law banning gas hookups in new buildings.
Although the new laws apply to the whole house, the political debate often focuses on one room in particular: the kitchen. Gas cookers make up a relatively small share of the emissions emitted by a typical household, but they have become an indicator of a broader struggle over the scope of efforts to reduce home natural gas consumption in the name of tackling climate change.
Natural gas consumption accounts for 80% of fossil fuel emissions from residential and commercial buildings, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. One study estimated that the New York ban alone would create an emissions reduction comparable to taking 450,000 cars off the road. But the movement has encountered significant setbacks. About 35% of US homes use gas for cooking, and surveys show that many people are reluctant to switch to an electric or induction stove. The gas industry also launched an extensive lobbying campaign that helped convince 19 Republican-led states to to impose bans on natural gas.
Beyond the climate implications of natural gas in general, there is also a movement to phase out gas stoves due to the harmful pollutants they release inside the home. Cooking on a gas stove , chemicals that have been linked to negative health conditions like asthma, with a particular risk to children. A study found that gas stoves exceeding legal limits for outdoor air.
Why there is debate
The gas stove debate is really a two-part conversation, with one element focused on the environmental harms of home natural gas consumption in general, and the other specifically on the indoor pollution created by gas cooktops. gas.
Climate change activists see gasoline bans as a powerful way to reduce greenhouse gases created by buildings, which account for around . They argue that unlike booming technologies like a green power grid and electric vehicles, clean alternatives to gas heaters, appliances and stoves are readily available to most consumers. Critics of the bans, on the other hand, are skeptical of any real reduction in emissions, worry about rising costs for homeowners, and argue that market-based solutions will be most effective in promoting a transition to homes. electrified.
When it comes to health, advocates say gas stoves are simply too toxic to install in new homes. They call on governments to create financial incentives to help homeowners switch to electric or induction cookers, an expense they say will ultimately save money from the cost of potential health issues. .
The gas industry argues that with proper ventilation, gas stoves can be safe. Conservatives also challenge the idea that government limits individual choice. Others argue that focusing on gas stoves, a product that many people are very loyal to, will only increase resistance to electrification as a whole.
The list of cities that will ban gas hookups in new construction looks set to grow in coming years, and opposition is likely to intensify in response. So far, no statewide bans have been put in place. California is the closest. Starting next year, all homes built in the state may have to be even if they have gas appliances installed. In New York, Governor Kathy Hochul as part of a multi-pronged initiative to combat climate change.
Gasoline bans are the only way to significantly reduce emissions from home
“For the individual homeowner, as for society as a whole, dealing with harmful pollution eventually starts to seem a bit silly when equally effective, affordable and pollution-free alternatives are available. It’s time to start making new buildings fully electric and replacing all existing gas appliances, including gas stoves, with electric alternatives. —David Roberts,
Gas cookers are a great entry point for the broader home electrification effort
A combination of legal limits and financial incentives could accelerate gas switch-over
“Government could speed things up with subsidies and regulation. If the state gave a big credit to homeowners to replace their gas stoves, paying particular attention to old stoves in apartment buildings (they often leak or burn very inefficiently), and established new regulations on the amount of air pollution appliances could produce that would gradually tighten over time, gas cooking could be replaced entirely. —Ryan Cooper,
Gas stoves are toxic to our health
“Cooking is the number one way to pollute your home. It causes respiratory and cardiovascular health problems; it can exacerbate influenza and asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in children. … You basically live in this toxic soup. — Shelly Miller, environmental engineer, at
Home electrification is one of the few climate transitions possible right now
“Real estate developers already have most of the technologies to replace furnaces with heat pumps, water heaters with electric boilers and gas stoves with induction hobs. And because cities and towns control building and energy codes, this is one of the few areas where they have the power to push through deep emission reductions. —Ysabelle Kempe,
Climate change is too big to be left to the free market
“The search for market-based solutions… as a way to address energy transition in low-income and disadvantaged communities is likely unfeasible, and also ethically dubious. Market-based solutions have not achieved the desired goals, so new ways of thinking must emerge. — Several authors,
Gasoline bans rob consumers of their freedom to choose what they want to have in their homes
“As for the gas stove, that’s the next elimination target, because it uses gas. The left, if it took over everything, would ban it from any further manufacture nationwide, then ban its replacement and ownership. … If someone in Montana, Florida, or Seattle says, “But I prefer gasoline,” you can only roll your eyes. —James Lileks,
The free market will be much more effective in promoting a gas transition
“With regard to the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it would not be necessary to impose the electrification of buildings if it were already cheaper than alternatives to fossil fuels for heating, hot water and cooking. … In other words, the adoption of electric home heating happened quickly without a mandate. —Ronald Bailey
Attacking gas stoves is a great way to steer people away from electrification in general
“Domestic kitchens thus represent approximately 0.4% of natural gas consumption in the United States. … It’s not a lot! Gas cooking, however, appears to be the biggest obstacle to the effort to electrify the American home in the name of slowing climate change. Why this? Mainly because people (myself included) like to cook with gas! It is one of the few uses of energy that inspires brand loyalty for the fuel consumed. —Justin Fox
Gas bans will actually increase emissions without a green energy grid
“It has become the transition fuel of our time, allowing the United States to quickly transition from coal while giving renewables time to grow to the scale needed to power the entire electricity-hungry country. . Once these renewables reach this scale, banning natural gas in residential construction begins to make environmental sense. Until then, these proposals ultimately increase our carbon footprint. — Ognjen Miljanic,
Gas stoves aren’t ideal, but aren’t as harmful as reviews claim
“It’s a good choice to avoid gas if you are replacing your stove anyway. …But if you’re looking for personal ways to protect the environment and your health right now, you’ve got a lot bigger fish to fry. Electrifying your space and water heating systems, or your car, will have a considerably greater impact, as will the ventilation of your kitchen. —Liam McCabe,
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