Front Burner: Foes of Natural Gas Focus on Stoves, Furnaces in New Buildings
Posted September 27, 2021
Initiatives in more than two dozen U.S. cities to phase out or straight-up ban natural gas service in new homes and buildings could set up Americans for one heck of a stomach punch. And we’re not just talking figuratively.
The Wall Street Journal reports that several dozen U.S. municipalities, including New York and Denver, have either passed or proposed measures that restrict or ban natural gas in new buildings or those that have had substantial renovation. The gut punch for Americans comes in what that reality would look and feel like – heat pumps and electric appliances in place of natural gas-fueled furnaces, water heaters, ovens and stoves.
In an article for National Review, Paul Gessing writes that Sacramento, California, recently became the 46th city to begin phasing out natural gas in new buildings:
Natural gas is a clean and affordable fuel used by millions of Americans every day to cook, heat water, and provide warm homes in the winter. We appreciate its benefits, even if we don’t think about them very often. Just because most of us may not think about natural gas, however, doesn’t mean that the climate warriors do likewise.
One group that’s pretty hot about it is people who cook for a living. George Chen, executive chef and founder of San Francisco restaurant China Live, told the Journal he was concerned about cities restricting natural gas cooking that he says contributes to the texture and flavor of good Chinese cuisine. Chen argues that can’t be done on an electric stove:
“I have respect for the environment, and I drive an electric car and am happy to pay the extra costs because the technology is good. But to say that an electric stove is as good as a gas one is misunderstanding the art of cooking.”
We’ll have to see whether those pushing the anti-natural gas campaign have misunderstood U.S. consumers who enjoy a meal cooked over natural gas – Gessing suggests it’s hard to find an electric stove in your favorite restaurant – and prefer radiant heat blowing from their home’s registers in winter over coolish air emitted by heat pumps.
The heat is on, so to speak, across the country. In at least one city, Spokane, Washington, residents developed an initiative of their own to bar the city council form imposing a ban on natural gas or hydropower without the consent of the governed.
At the end of the day, Americans’ desire for affordable, reliable energy surely must win out. Add to that their desire for a good stir fry and other fine foods – cooked over the blue flame of natural gas.
About The Author
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Previously, Mark was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor at an assortment of newspapers. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela have two grown children and six grandchildren.
- Energy Costs, Consumers and Increasing U.S. Production to Help Demand-Supply Mismatch
- Natural Gas and Oil – Today and Tomorrow
- U.S. Must Learn From Europe’s Energy Struggles, Not Repeat Them
- On Climate, Industry is Focused on Meaningful Actions and Results
- Europe, California and Natural Gas’ Role in Future Energy Mix