Time to Break Up with Gas Stoves

January 14, 2023

This guy is making some of the best videos out there on climate and energy.

Goodenergystories.com:

In cities and states across the US, the fossil fuel industry has hired influencers to tout the benefits of cooking with gas, despite the profound and documented health risks of domestic gas use.

Utility companies hired paid actors to impersonate members of the public in order to give public comment against gas bans in Louisiana and California. SoCalGas got busted using ratepayer money to create the front group it uses to fight gas bans. Yeah. It’s literally using the money it receives from people’s gas bills to fight anti-gas legislation.

Nearly a century ago, the fossil fuel industry popularized the phrase “cooking with gas” by working it into Bob Hope routines, Disney cartoons, and targeted commercials.

This rap and dance explains (lies) to us that gas is cleaner and cheaper than electric stoves. “We all cook better when we’re cooking with gas.”

Mother Jones:

Early last year in the Fox Hills neighborhood of Culver City, California, a man named Wilson Truong posted an item on the Nextdoor social media platform—where users can interact with their neighbors—warning that city leaders were considering stronger building codes that would discourage the use of natural gas in new homes and businesses. In a message titled “Culver City banning gas stoves?” he wrote, “First time I heard about it I thought it was bogus, but I received a newsletter from the city about public hearings to discuss it…Will it pass???!!! I used an electric stove but it never cooked as well as a gas stove so I ended up switching back.”

Truong’s post ignited a debate. One neighbor, Chris, defended electric induction stoves. “Easy to clean,” he wrote of these glass stovetops, which use a magnetic field to heat pans. Another neighbor, Laura, expressed skepticism. “No way,” she wrote. “I am staying with gas. I hope you can too.”

Unbeknownst to both, Truong wasn’t their neighbor at all, but an account manager for Imprenta Communications Group. Among the public relations firm’s clients was Californians for Balanced Energy Solutions, a front for the nation’s largest gas utility, SoCalGas, which aims to thwart state and local initiatives restricting the use of fossil fuels in new buildings. c4bes had tasked Imprenta with exploring how platforms such as Nextdoor could be used to engineer community support for natural gas. Imprenta assured me that Truong’s post was an isolated affair, but c4bes displays it alongside two other anonymous Nextdoor comments on its website as evidence of its advocacy in action.

Microtargeting Nextdoor groups is part of the newest front in the gas industry’s war to bolster public support for its product. For decades the American public was largely sold on the notion that “natural” gas was relatively clean, and when used in the kitchen, even classy. But that was before climate change moved from distant worry to proximate danger. Burning natural gas in commercial and residential buildings accounts for more than 10 percent of US emissions, so moving toward homes and apartments powered by wind and solar electricity instead could make a real dent. Gas stoves and ovens also produce far worse indoor air pollution than most people realize; running a gas stove and oven for just an hour can produce unsafe pollutant levels throughout your house all day. These concerns have prompted moves by 42 municipalities to phase out gas in new buildings. Washington state lawmakers intend to end all use of natural gas by 2050. California has passed aggressive standards, including a plan to reduce commercial and residential emissions to 60 percent of 1990 levels by 2030. During his campaign, President Biden called for stricter standards for appliances and new construction. Were more stringent federal rules to come to pass, it could motivate builders to ditch gas hookups for good.

Gas utilities have responded to this existential threat to their livelihood by launching local anti-electrification campaigns. To ward off a municipal vote in San Luis Obispo, California, a union representing gas utility workers threatened to bus in “hundreds” of protesters during the pandemic with “no social distancing in place.” In Santa Barbara, residents have received robotexts warning that a gas ban would dramatically increase their bills. The Pacific Northwest group Partnership for Energy Progress, funded in part by Washington state’s largest gas utility, Puget Sound Energy, has spent at least $1 million opposing electrification mandates in Bellingham and Seattle, including $91,000 on bus ads showing a happy family cooking with gas next to the slogan “Reliable. Affordable. Natural Gas. Here for You.”

Advertisement

10 Responses to “Time to Break Up with Gas Stoves”

  1. Gingerbaker Says:

    Twitter is ablaze with screaming hot proclamations about “prying my gas stove from my cold dead fingers” lately.

  2. gmrmt Says:

    20 year old stove and the whole top of it gets uncomfortably hot when just one burner is being used. We’ve picked up a salton burner when it was on sale. It regularly sells for $100CAD and a double burner for twice. An induction stovetop costs over $2000CAD for some reason. If you want to try out induction cooking these individual burners are a good way to go although, if like me, you lack counterspace and need to use the stovetop and its’ plug you might want the double burner.
    If you have the counterspace you can still use your regular stove when you need more than one burner which, for us, is less than %30 of the time.
    What would really help people is a demo stand set up in appliance stores with electric resistance, gas and induction burners so people could see the difference. Is there a youtube video that does this?

    • jimbills Says:

      I wonder about the cost of induction stoves as well. In the U.S. they run well over $1K, often higher than $2K, when you can pick up a very nice separate 2 burner induction top for under $200.


  3. Induction stoves look intriguing, but these knee jerk calls for banning gas make me suspicious.

    • gmrmt Says:

      I’ve never heard of a ban being planned. Just new building codes requiring safer cooking methods. There’s absolutely nothing preventing the gas stove industry developing cooktops with smaller emissions and less nitrous oxide production.


  4. I have to laugh at California banning gas hookups. The latest pie chart I can find of California’s electricity generation shows 43.8% for gas in 2018. I found a link that shows gas at 50.2% for 2021:

    https://www.energy.ca.gov/data-reports/energy-almanac/california-electricity-data/2021-total-system-electric-generation

    • Mark Mev Says:

      “I have to laugh at California banning gas hookups. ” but:
      https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/new-california-rules-move-state-away-natural-gas-new-buildings-2021-08-11/
      “The state’s update falls short of an all-out ban on natural gas in new construction proposed by environmental groups. However, it includes a requirement to install solar and energy storage systems in most new commercial buildings, demands that single-family homes be built “electric ready” to support electric vehicles and appliances and strengthens ventilation standards to improve indoor air quality.
      Heat pumps, an alternative to gas-fueled water and space heating, are currently used in less than 6% of new home construction in California. The new building code will establish heat pumps as the baseline technology when builders are designing homes to meet state efficiency standards.
      Homes may still be built with gas heating systems, but builders in those cases will have to find efficiency gains in other parts of the building such as windows or walls.”

      That is not a ban on gas hookups. Is there some other ban or restriction that you are referring to?

  5. John Oneill Says:

    I use electric resistance, but would get an induction hob top if I hadn’t read reports of them only lasting a few years. ( Two of the four elements under my glass top have aged out, and they won’t sell replacements – though electrical engineering nephew says it could just be the control knob at fault.)


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: