Cities continue to push the idea of a ban on natural gas and natural gas appliances as a way of combating alleged man-made climate change, but OneNewsNow spoke to someone who argues that the move is "wrongheaded."
"That's problematic for a number of reasons," says Nicolas Loris, an economist focusing on energy issues for The Heritage Foundation, a center-right think tank headquartered in Washington, DC. "[First,] it would be extremely costly and burdensome for families to have to pay to get new appliances – not to mention, running them on natural gas has been cheaper and saved households [and businesses] money; and secondly, it's a big consumer choice issue."
On that latter point, Loris notes that many people like cooking on natural gas. "It heats the food evenly, it cooks rather quickly – and so there's just a pleasantness that comes with cooking with natural gas that people tend to like," he adds.
Meanwhile, Loris says the environmental health benefits of a ban are questionable, especially in terms of reducing CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions. "This has been a big climate push now from a number of the more progressive cities, and natural gas is one of the reasons why we have seen a dramatic countrywide decrease in greenhouse gas emissions," he says.
In 2012, The Associated Press reported that CO2 emissions were at a 20-year low. The reason? Greater use of natural gas. "So, in terms of being eco-friendly, a lot of these appliances are better off than electric counterparts," adds Loris.
In July 2019, the city of Berkeley, California, became the first municipality in the nation to ban natural gas in new buildings.
"We need to tackle climate change every way that we can and by doing this, we're not asking people to change that much," Berkeley City Council member Kate Harrison told NPR.
Supporters of the "no natural gas" movement argue that new, energy-efficient electric appliances have lower carbon footprints than their gas-powered counterparts. Still, that electricity comes from somewhere – and while many cities and states have made efforts to get more of their energy from alternative platforms such as wind and solar, the overwhelming majority of the nation's electricity is generated from natural gas and coal.
Related article by Nicolas Loris:
Why eco-warriors' bid to ban natural gas appliances is wrongheaded