Lately, anti-oil and gas activists have shifted their focus on trying to ban natural gas use in cities. To date, this strategy has had some success in the U.S. with cities like Berkeley and San Francisco already banning the fuel. In its climate management ban, Vancouver has also moved to ban natural gas use in new homes by 2030. Interestingly, a new narrative that these activists have been pushing targets natural gas stoves used for cooking inside homes and businesses.
Most recently, they have been using a heavily biased report that was authored by the Sierra Club and the Rocky Mountain Institute. It goes without saying that the authors of the report are funded by the Tides Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Sierra Club was given over 1 Million dollars in 2019 and the Rocky Mountain Institute was given $615,000 the same year by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
The report from Sierra Club and the Rocky Mountain Institute calls out natural gas use for cooking as a major driver in respiratory and health issues in the home. Other groups in Canada have pushed this report to their audiences in hopes of gaining more traction in the battle over natural gas use here in Canada
Even though anti-oil and gas groups have pushed these arguments that burning natural gas creates indoor air pollution which is harmful to residents, Canada Health seems to disagree with their arguments.
This direct quote from the Canada Health Guidelines is consistent with other independent research that says modern gas stoves with proper ventilation are safe.
“Data from Canadian indoor air studies indicate that the concentration of NO2 in most electric stove homes will rarely exceed this level and that this concentration is also attainable in gas stove homes when adequate stovetop ventilation is used.”
In this study, despite headline-grabbing claims that gas stove use can increase the risk of respiratory issues such as asthma, this independent study found that most studies have been inconclusive for both children and adults and have not found an increased risk.
Another study being pushed by activists from UCLA, which was commissioned by the Sierra Club, also notes that using a ventilation hood makes cooking with a gas stove safe.
It’s worth noting that the WHO, also views natural gas as one of the cleanest solutions to keep indoor air quality above WHO guidelines.
The use of natural gas and its by-products are also incredibly important in developing countries where many still use fuels like wood or coal to cook their food. The use of these more polluting fuels has shown an increase in reported illnesses in India.
The International Energy Agency also sees the climate benefit of natural gas use. Despite claims by anti-oil and gas activists, the organization says that the switch to natural gas has helped save over 500 million tonnes of emissions.
Electric appliances also are not without their own issues. Faulty wiring is the number one cause of household fires. It’s also not guaranteed that switching to electric appliances will alleviate pollutant-related health effects. Electric stoves can also increase particulate matter which can affect respiratory health and indoor air quality.
Whether it is a gas stovetop or electric, consumers should be free to choose their preferred method of cooking. For millions around the globe, they often do not have that choice.