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The next target in the climate-change debate: your gas stove

California becomes the first US city to pass an ordinance banning gas systems in new buildings.
States in the US are calling for the ban of natural gas usage in commercial and residential areas in the fight against climate change. Image: Shutterstock

Dozens of cities in liberal-leaning states such as California, Washington, and Massachusetts are studying proposals to ban or limit the use of natural gas in commercial and residential buildings. The movement opens a new front in the fight against climate change that could affect everything from heating systems in skyscrapers to stoves in suburban homes. Berkeley, California, in July became the first US city to pass an ordinance banning gas systems in new buildings, and it may soon be followed by many others, according to interviews with local officials, activists and industry groups. Los Angeles and Seattle are among those considering laws that could drastically reduce natural gas consumption.

“Berkeley is the opening salvo,” said Bruce Nilles, managing director of think tank Rocky Mountain Institute’s building electrification program.

Local officials and environmentalists cite mounting evidence that unburned gas leaking from pipes and compressor stations harm the climate more than carbon dioxide, the byproduct of burned fossil fuels.

Many environmentalists until recently considered natural gas a “bridge fuel” to a future of renewable energy because gas burns cleaner than oil or coal. Now local officials are stepping into what they call a federal regulatory void under the administration of President Donald Trump, who argues fossil-fuel restrictions needlessly damage the economy.

They want buildings switched to electric power from a grid that is increasingly powered by renewable energy. US utilities currently derive about 35% of their electricity from gas but have also nearly doubled their use of renewable fuels in the past decade, from 9% to 17% of all power, according to the EIA.

Residential and commercial buildings account for about 12% of US greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. They are also crucial to natural gas sales: Direct gas consumption amounted to about 8.45 trillion cubic feet in 2018, rivalling the 10.63 tcf used by utilities to power the grid, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

If gas bans in buildings become widespread, they could upend the business models of some of the world’s biggest energy companies, which are investing billions of dollars to produce and ship more natural gas on the belief the fuel will play a key role in the transition to a cleaner energy economy. Big gas producers including Exxon Mobil, Shell and BP argue gas improves the environment by replacing dirtier fuels such as coal.

Natural gas companies alarmed by the trend are pushing back with ad campaigns and research promoting gas as a superior cooking fuel and an affordable option in a country that has become the world’s top gas producer.

“We are trying to get ahead of it,” said Stuart Saulters, the Director of Government Affairs of the American Public Gas Association. “We think there is a chance this can domino.”

The American Petroleum Institute, which represents the US oil-and-gas industry, rejects claims that natural gas is bad for the environment, arguing its increased use has helped cut US carbon emissions. Spokesman Reid Porter said that the industry is also limiting methane emissions with improved leak-prevention technology, citing data from the Environmental Protection Agency showing a decline in recent years.

Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis rethink natural gas

Nilles, of the Rocky Mountain Institute, said some 50 California municipalities are studying new limits on natural gas in buildings, including Silicon Valley-area cities such as Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and San Jose, the nation’s 10th most populous city. Los Angeles set a goal in April of powering all its buildings with renewable energy by 2050, starting with new buildings by 2030.

San Luis Obispo last week became the second city, after Berkeley, to pass a law limiting gas installations in new buildings. Kate Harrison, the Berkeley council member who spearheaded the city’s gas ban, said she has been contacted by dozens of cities studying similar measures in states including Massachusetts and Minnesota.

Officials in the Boston suburb of Brookline, for instance, will vote in November on a measure to ban gas hookups in new buildings. In Minnesota, three-quarters of the state’s residential heating – largely fueled by gas – would have to convert to electricity to meet the state’s goal of an 80% carbon emissions reduction by 2050, according to a report by the McKnight Foundation, a philanthropic organisation.

New York City in April also passed a bill requiring buildings of more than 25 000 square feet to cut greenhouse emissions 40% by 2030 – a standard expected to reduce natural gas use.

Seattle City Council Member Mike O’Brien is working on legislation to ban gas hookups in new buildings. The fuel, he said, “is odourless and invisible but has a huge impact on the climate.”

Hot showers and crackling fires

The American Public Gas Association’s ad campaign is aimed at 25- to 44-year-old homeowners with incomes of more than $75 000, according to a slide presentation about it seen by Reuters. It features Facebook and Instagram ads showing people enjoying hot showers, cooking on gas stoves and relaxing by a firepit. Campaign director Saulters said it was one of the group’s most expensive promotional efforts to date, without disclosing its cost.

In July, a group called Californians for Balanced Energy Solutions – formed by Sempra Energy unit SoCal Gas – held a press conference with Southern California restaurant owners who favour gas stoves.

“We need instant, really strong fire,” said Charles Lu, the owner of a Chinese restaurant chain who participated in the event. “Otherwise, I think it will kill the business.”

Wealthier homeowners may also resist electrification of kitchens and fireplaces, according to Nic Dunfee of environmental consulting firm TRC Companies Inc, who oversees an incentive program to rebuild homes in wildfire-stricken Sonoma County. Builders are pushing back on proposed mandates for electric stoves, he said at a recent meeting of California energy regulators.

“They don’t feel that they are able to sell a home that doesn’t have natural-gas cooking,” he said.


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this man-made-climate-change-hoax is getting out of hand.


Burn more coal, burn more oil, burn down the forests! Burn baby burn!

johann, the upvotes show that there are people who agree with me.

no, we do not say burn!-burn!-burn!, but we DO SAY:

do not lie to us … … …

the man-made-climate-change-hoax-people got their own financial-hidden-agenda

So you want to base your anti science theory on the amount of upvotes you got on a financial news website?
Seems legit…

No, PJJ, i first had my theory, based on common sense, then i mentioned it in comments, THEN i got the up votes.

and yes, the up votes meant a lot to me, especially because it comes, i assume, from readers who actually work in the financial sector.

on this sunday morning so far 25 of these people agrees with me:

investors, planners, managers, inventors, people in manufacturing etc

people, you know, who are part of this 1/3 of the population who stayed behind on their home planet, when the useless 1/3 was send away in a spaceship, to escape the pending doom and gloom on their home planet.

which brings us back to the doom and gloom of man-made-global-warming … … …

“and yes, the up votes meant a lot to me, especially because it comes, i assume, from readers who actually work in the financial sector.”

Wow, you are actually serious?
Well in that case I should remember to ask my financial adviser to confirm that I am the best software developer in town, because I mean, he works in the financial sector…

No let me correct that,,

Idiots-scamming-the-world hoax.

Methane is cheap and the cleanest burning fuel. No dangerous particulates formed, no smog.

Buenos Aires changed only its taxis in around 1990’s to methane the effect on smog was significant. Now millions of cars there run on methane.The second biggest fleet in the world is Iran.

In the US methane is being included now in commercial transport mixed with diesels.

The same institutions that governments are in hock to are pushing the man made climate change hoax. Coincidence?

Yes, it is all these small municipalities doing this!


Wow, an up vote means you are right! No doubt these are by scientists. Not clutchplates running garden service businesses who get their facts from the drunken oom at a braai.

Anything, an up vote means people AGREE with you!

You clearly don’t understand how the voting system works. An up vote means people agree with you, simply that. It has absolutely nothing to do with the correctness of the comments.

So long as the increased verocity of tornados, increased floodings, glacial meltings are being kept in check?


If we for a moment ignore the 99.7% peer reviewed studies that conclude man is causing climate change, and just look at the process of burning coal and oil and gas vs the alternative of using wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear, hydro. Do you seriously believe that the burning method is better for the environment (and remember we now pretend CO2 from burning million year old fossils is not causing climate change) looking at:
1. Particulate emissions into atmosphere (nox, sox, soot, mercury, lead, arsenic, etc). Do you live down wind from a coal plant – if not I presume you wouldn’t mind.
2. The environmental impact of coal oil and gas extraction and the solids byproduct of for example coal electricity. Have a look at an aerial picture of an open cast coal mine and the area around one of Eskom’s older plants. It is a moonscape.

with the exception of nuclear, all the alternative energy sources I used are also cost-competitive with oil gas coal, actually far cheaper at under USD0.04 per kWh.

As to upvotes : a majority elected Zuma and Trump – look how that turned out

Where I do agree is that the developed world must first pay back for the harm they caused building what they have. So let Germany, US, UK, France, Japan pay for emission free technology technology premium at coal plants in SA and China. They can’t now tell us what we must do when they have low energy intensity economies and import their products from developing world!


IF and ONLY IF we really have global warming, then CO2 is the least of our problems:

Should the temperature of the oceans rise consistently, then we are doomed, because we are in denial about what we should do:

We need to stop all development at the coast lines, and prepare for the worst, by allowing new long term development at least 100 meters above the current sea level.

Short term (less than 50 years) developments can still be allowed in this buffer area, and gradually move upwards.

(If ALL ice and snow should melt, the level of the oceans will rise about 100 meter.)

The temperature rise of the oceans are not caused by mankind, nature is going its course, and we cannot change that.

Simply put, you protect yourself by wearing clothes and shoes as needed, not by eliminating cold and thorns.

But I think we will stay in denial until storms wipe out cities and countries, not flooding it, wiping it out.

1. So upvotes only count if you say so, aka 99.7% of something?
2. TAbaco smoking in cigarettes was punted safe for alomst a century by 99.7% of “scientists” thesame pseudo intelects that are no saying “global warming”.. sorry “climate change”
3. When did the argument change fro CO2 to particulates? Did I miss that discussing like with point 2?
4.Offshore methane has no “vast destruction” in its exploitation. The reserves are unlimited. So now you say do not use that?
5.Why must SA be prohibited from using its resources and pay Euros for technology to Germany/US suppliers?
6. Why dont they supply Zero emission coal technology?

True, man need to limit its impact on the complex system that is earth. But lets get the facts straight then. The CO2 fear mongering is a front for something else mos? Clearly for all those Zuma voters that do not understand the difference between correlation and causation or statistical significance of “proof”.

Yet your demand payback from 1st world sounds like some party members in SA demanding payback..

There are many actors in this move, yet the poor are the ones that are paying the most for the farce at the end.

You didn’t answer Johan’s key question, climate change aside, do you personally think that burning things is the best way to generate energy?


1: Johan’s assertion is a valid one, MJ was saying his point was right not based on any science, he simply defended it by saying: Look at all my upvotes.

2:Its been known as climate change for around 60 years, no one “suddenly changed it” to climate change : The Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climatic Change
First published: May 1956

3:You missed the discussion around greenhouse gasses, of which Co2 is one, but not the only one.

4: Fossil fuels are by definition limited, but I mean sure, if we wanted to, we could use it.

5:We must definitely not be limited (and we are not), like Bill Gates recently said, Africa must emit whatever it needs to solve malnutrition.
Btw the US has missed the renewable energy boat, most of the renewable energy products now come from Asia (China specifically) and Europe.

6:You get technologies that reduce the amount of pollution generated by coal plants, but they are expensive, so Eskom has 0 incentive to pay for something they feel they don’t have to.

There has been fear mongering no doubt, but to deny the science all together because you feel someone has a ulterior motive is also wrong, as always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

The ‘scientists supported smoking’ is such a tired myth. If you have science to support your claim, please use it otherwiae you end up looking like a antivaccing flat earther.


You seem to have some personal take here, look NASA use small nuclear batteries to power its vehicles for decades, but lets not go there.

1. Funny, “science” is only at one place and it aint with MJs point apparently.. The votes matter more, it says commonsense prevails above snake-oil sales men and against all the intellectuals-yet-idiots in the mass media punting rubbish. People with commonsense do not need complex academic theory and models to tell them what to do, how to think or act.

The Italian earth quake in L’Aquila 2009, was tragic but such a prime example where local people foresaw risk of an earth quake yet idiots forecasters with models/theory told people to stay in their homes, everything is safe, 300 people died the following day. The people understood the prudent caution needed in dealing with complex systems, yet punters of the theory cost many lives.

2. You said it, it was a theory then 1956 and now 2019. A theory just by publication is not nearly science or fact. There are many theories, just venture into the english dept under gender studies. 1000’s

3. I am fully aware. It is just hard to keep track of the new angle, is it now warming or climate change then we have to worry about?

I am a process engineer working on developing new renewable process technology. I am sitting writing articles addressing/refuting gross scientific errors in colleagues work purposely put there and I am polity told, yes we agree but requested to “not throw my colleagues under the bus”. Really don’t put your faith on some 99.7% number.

Science is hard..Many academics just say and publish results to what governments want to hear so that they can get the funding to keep up the system. Pretty stories are spun. It is publish or perish. And in herds it works well, academics like conformation bias.

SA can develop its own “green” technology, not less emissions, zero emission coal or methane burning why not? yet realistically we have bigger problems to solve like old school project management to get standard power plant built on time and budget..

Please use commonsense against dangerous well versed unproven academic theories!

This countries “brightest” are still believing this HOAX. That’s VERY SAD.
THERE IS NO SCIENCE TO SHOW THIS TO BE TRUE!!!! Carbon Dioxide is .039 of the air we breathe. Here’s the real question–Where does all the money we pay in fines go????????????????????????????????????????????????

Answer: To an unelected body overseas that will spend as they please! It’s called the “piggy bank.”

Here’s a question: if the deep-pocketed fossil fuel industry, who refuse to acknowledge there could be a and pump out misinformation for profit, turn out to be wrong; go to “plan B” and move to Siberia, or some place that the climate improves, what’s going to happen to their anonymous minions on the internet…you think they will save you?

What fine have you paid for CO2? Scientific concensus has been reached half a decade ago. Have you ever read a scientific journal? Or do you get your facts around the braai fire?


That was your take away?

The term “scientific consensus” is nonsensical- complete cobblers. Anyone who uses this term is rank ignorant of the way of science. Mathematics is the language of science. Philosophy is the rule book. The scientific method is the script. Science is about EVIDENCE and testable hypotheses. To say that 97% (whatever) of scientists agree is a logical fallacy. Apart from being completely untrue. It is called Argumetum ad Populum. There is another logical fallacy called Argumetum ad Verecundiam (argument to authority). Just because scientists say it is true does not make it true. If you want to argue about science then learn the rules.

Ah science…. Not so long ago our esteemed scientists believed in blood letting, lobotomies, universe revolving around the earth, flat earth(!!!) phrenology, the inclusion of homosexuality as a disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, the phlogiston theory of combustion, Bayer’s introduction of heroin as a ‘non-addictive’ substitute to morphine, and many more. All these claims were made by scientists, peer reviewed at the time and generally accepted. Science is clever, but the scientists, not always so much….

I’m not saying science is wrong, or bad. I’m saying that we should use our own eyes and ears and our own minds to consider matters, and when it sounds like a duck and quacks like a duck, lets not call it cow. But- when there is no duck or cow, don’t try tell me there is actually a cow, which evolved from a duck, and soon it will be a cooked goose if we don’t turn down the heat…..

because CO2 causes climate change, really.. CO2 amounts for 0.04% of air, all the huffing and puffing humans do makes no difference in global warming or cooling.

You might want to look at the big orange nuclear fireball floating in space to understand climate change.

Oh wait, you can’t charge the sun and make money from it, now I see, yip CO2 it is then!

Yes, hundred of thousands of scientists across the world have never considered the sun! Genius!

I love the”hundreds of thousands!

What has happened to the hole in the ozone? Is it fixed?

Man don’t confuse scientism with science. There are hundres of thousands of astrologists out there

@anything, seriously you need to study more…

Really? So I can join the 99.7 percent of scientists who agree that human activities are cuaidng climate change?

Way ahead of you boet.

Did you have a point to make there?

More logical fallacies from Anything. *Sigh*

Ducks float, wood floats thus ducks are made of wood. Not.

Californian, democratic “blompots”!

So when did California become a city?

This was your take away? Wow.

The reason I consider President Trump a world leader is his stance against the global warming hoax. Hopefully some of the other leaders will also fall in line.

Yes, I am confident he is with the science on this one. Lol.

It appears that our scientific global warmers are unable to tell the difference between a highly flammable gas (methane) and methyl a liquid which is used as fuel in cars and can also be mixed with diesel. Met ander woorde jy ry op spirits.

Methyl is not a liquid. It is a functional group. It doesn’t exist as a chemical. Rather keep quiet if you don’t know the basics. This isn’t a braai fire where you can make things up.

They are specifically referring to methane in gas. Which leaks and is a greenhouse gas in its own right. Methanol (maybe you mean ethanol) is added to fuel. This is not a concern as it is burnt to normal FF products.

Maybe put down the brandy and step away from the fire? Get some oxygen?

Dear Anything stop downgrading yourself with your pathetic comments and get a education higher than kindergarten standard.

It started off as global warming, but the Irish were the first to notice that it was every bit as cold and wet as usual.
So it became climate change. Well of course it is, the climate has been changing for millions of years.
So let’s call it climate crisis instead. That should scare people.
Sea levels will rise dramatically, but the banks will still lend you money to build a house at the coast ????
We need to ramp it up to climate catastrophe, start clearing houses on the coastline.
Does so called sin tax stop people smoking, drinking or eating sugar ? Of course not. But it is a sneaky way to allow people to enjoy their bad habits simply by paying more tax. So let’s not stop carbon emissions, let’s just tax it.
More easy money.

The article does not mention that of the piped natural gas, indeed one of the cleanest fuels around, producing less CO2 then burning liquid fuels, and certainly far less than coal, about 2.3% is leaked directly into the atmosphere. Acc to research from the western part of the USA. And methane(natural gas) is a 80 times more potent GHG, greenhouse gas than CO2.
So changing from gas to renewable electricity would surely reduce the emissions of GHGs.
Not only some parts, cities in the US are not having a gas line installed in new houses. The same is happening in the lowlands of polders and windmills. A massive reserve of natural gas was discovered in the north east of NL in 1959. From 1963 to 1975 roughly the whole country was piped with gas. Most reidences and industires used gad for heating of buildings,water, cooking and cooking. A large part of the electricity production came from gas, not coal anymore. As the gas was below rather soft soil of clay and sand more and more earthtremors acuured in that rural region over the last 20 years or so. As NL was not interested to import large quantities of Russian gas, that has pipelines over large swats of Europe, and the change over is to renewable energy, most of the newly built houses are not connected to natural gas any more. Large heat exchange units serving residential areas extract now geothermal energy to heat houses and water from 2 or 3km below, instead of using gas.
The worlds largest windturbine is also being built in the country :
It is not even worth arguing with deniers of human caused climate change/global warming IMHO.
They should just calculate what super storm Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, hurricane Dorianne and the one that hit the Phillipines a few years back, actually all the cyclones, hurricanes together have cost those countries and the economies over the last 10 years. As it is a well recognised fact that climate change can easily be kept responsible for at least 20% increase in intensity of these events, that 20% invested in measures to mitgate or even halt climate change are a jolly good investment, and will pay itself back many times. In many parts of the world, and certainly in here in SA, renewable energy has become cheaper than burning coal or gas.


It is not even worth arguing with climate change/warming punters because their theory is not falsifiable, like 1000’s out there. It is a valid argument but that does not make it true.

What is has the “largest” wind turbine got to do with anything? Proof of?

Methane filters naturally through the ground all over the world, from coal layers and ice layers. Do we plug those holes?

Everybody with a few brain cells are fully aware of the impact man has on earth, and the need to minimize it. Yet the lobby of “the largest” wind turbine are out moneymaking.

Keep calculating you numbers, funny how the forecasters were completely fooled by the path and movement of Dorian moving over Bahamas. Do you really think they can estimate accurately the supposed contribution by man?

End of comments.





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