Natural gas bans aren’t about your health

June 16, 2023

Gas Burners© Provided by Washington Examiner Story by Ben Carson.

Don’t be fooled into thinking the natural gas ban is good policy. And don’t be fooled by the politicians who declare a natural gas ban to be a conspiracy theory. Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) has claimed, “I’m not hearing about this issue back home. No one wants to ban gas stoves. Neither does the Biden administration.” Similarly, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the idea something “cooked up” by the “MAGA Republicans” and proclaimed, “Nobody is taking away your gas stove.”

If only that were true. In fact, just weeks after he made those remarks, New York became the first state in the nation to, you guessed it, ban natural gas stoves and furnaces in new buildings.

Legislators want you to believe that these bans are just another conspiracy theory. But in fact, over the last several years, municipalities large and small have been instituting prohibitions and restrictions. While New York state is the first to pass a natural gas ban, in 2019, Berkeley, California, was the first city to institute a residential natural gas ban. Since then, local governments have introduced legislation and ordinances to address the use of natural gas in buildings. From bans of natural gas hook ups to aggressive energy codes, these bans can take many different forms.

Why the controversy?

Your gas stove has become the latest battlefield for climate activists as part of a broader campaign to eliminate gas appliances in your home. They’re pushing these bans in service of their self-righteous quest to reach net zero emissions. Commercial and residential buildings account for about 13% of heat-trapping emissions, mainly from the use of gas appliances. So instead of debating the costs and benefits so people can make the right choice for themselves, liberals prefer outright bans no matter the cost, resorting to paternalistic, ham-fisted policies ostensibly to “protect health.”

But health isn’t the primary concern for these activists. For example, there are ways to reduce health risks from gas stoves, such as using a range hood that vents outside. There is, however, no effort to require these vents. Instead, the intent of those supporting these policies is obvious: Bans to mitigate concerns around health are just a convenient means to an end. The real goal of these bans is to electrify our homes and buildings, full stop. But so far, gaining buy-in with voters has been problematic because not everyone is convinced that “beneficial electrification” is actually beneficial.

This is why politicians have resorted to outright bans. Even though it will come at a significant cost to taxpayers and homeowners. The Biden administration has decided to subsidize electrification through tax credits and rebates heavily. But we can’t subsidize everyone and everything in the name of the latest liberal trend. And while new buildings have been the initial target of these policies, that is certainly not the endpoint. In order to reach aggressive climate goals, the retrofitting of all buildings will need to be addressed. Some estimates put the cost at $10 trillion.

Make no mistake. The natural gas ban is not about your health. It’s just another effort to prioritize an aggressive climate agenda over all other issues affecting the public. Big government has no problem coming into your home and making broad mandates instead of allowing you to make decisions for yourself. Politicians should stay out of our kitchens and instead cook up ways to address the plethora of other real problem facing our nation.