Is Los Angeles right to ban gas stoves?
- The Los Angeles City Council voted to ban new natural gas hookups in new homes and buildings to work towards zero-carbon emissions.
- According to the Sierra Club, 55 California cities or counties have “adopted building codes to reduce their reliance on gas. Some include Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Solana Beach, Sacramento, and Oakland.
- The measure has been critiqued by the Asian community as a Chinese restaurant owner stated, “By taking gas away, you’re telling us we cannot use woks anymore, essentially taking away our identity and heritage. It forces us to adapt to American culture.”
- The California Air Resources Board released a draft of the 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan to “guide the state’s transition to a clean energy economy, drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels, [and] achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 or sooner” to support the statewide Executive Order (B-55-18) adopted in September 9, 2018.
Los Angeles, along with over 70 other US cities, is right to ban natural gas hookups and embrace modern electric stoves, which have a much lower carbon footprint than their older gas counterparts. This is a key component in fighting climate change. To slow the rate of manmade climate change, we must drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
While most electric-powered modern cookers are currently made using renewable sources, these types of appliances, once being used, will prove to be even better for the environment. Electrical cooking appliances also help cut down on the controversial practices of drilling and fracking needed to produce natural gas. Further, gas stoves produce fumes similar to those emitted from automobiles. When not vented correctly in the home, these can lead to aggravated health conditions such as asthma.
The newest California ban would be implemented in stages, with a full enactment plan due from the requisite agencies before any banning actually begins. This gives restaurants, the main opponents of this ban, plenty of time to adapt. Further, it only applies to future builds, not stoves that are already in place, meaning that current restaurants won't really be affected until it comes time to replace outdated equipment. At this time, it is only natural they are expected to replace units with more efficient stoves.
While cooking with gas has been traditional in many different types of cuisine, addressing climate change is ultimately more important. While electrical appliances may make some kinds of cooking more difficult and cause chefs to have to adapt, this ban must be put in place as it signals to all industries and citizens that Los Angeles is serious about addressing climate change. Real sacrifices are important and possible in the battle to keep the world habitable.
The Los Angeles City Council recently passed a motion to ban most residential and commercial gas appliances to supposedly combat climate change. Yet, the Los Angeles mandate to ban gas stoves comes amid a surge in electricity across California. This political move was made with little, if any, consideration of cost to its citizens. Natural gas is affordable and saves families money. Nationally, natural gas appliances used for cooking, heating, and drying clothes save families over $900 per year over families that use only electric devices.
It is no surprise that California's living expenses, from housing to home utilities to the gas price at the pump to food prices, are skyrocketing. This ban only adds to living costs for the already economically-stretched California residents. The expense of replacing or converting from electric to gas appliances would, in many instances, be cost-prohibitive and for a minuscule benefit, if any at all.
Likewise, 'the electric power sector uses natural gas to generate electricity' and is thus not necessarily 'clean energy.' An unintended consequence of this action is that it could spell doom for many ethnic restaurants in Los Angeles. The cascading effect is that many restaurants, especially Asian restaurants, rely on industrial woks, ovens, and grills that require natural gas. Taking away woks, which is really an essential piece of Asian cuisine, is taking away the Asian identity and heritage.
A complaint filed by the California Restaurant Association against the city of Berkeley in 2019 stated restaurants specializing in international foods enjoyed in the Bay area would be unable to prepare many of their specialties without natural gas. The Los Angeles City Council, like any other government entity, should not be in the business of regulating its constituents and dictating which appliances individuals or businesses can utilize.