How Your Gas Stove Was Drafted Into the Culture Wars
But, while federal officials mull the safety of gas stoves, some cities and states have taken action on their own since famously liberal Berkeley, California, banned gas hookups in most homes and other new buildings in 2019, mostly to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
Now environmentalists, consumer advocates and others want Chicago to join New York, Los Angeles and Boston in bans against the use of natural gas in most new construction. Speaking at a news conference last Wednesday at Chicago’s City Hall, the Sierra Club’s Illinois chapter director, Jack Darin, called such an ordinance “the next bold step for climate action.”
Yet, bold action bubbles up vigorously on the pro-gas side too. At least 20 states have passed their own preemptive legislation to ban their local governments from passing anti-gas bans.
Gas companies and their allies justify their opposition by citing cost concerns and the freedom for customers to have more choice about their energy supply. I respect that. But I also favor more research and a robust debate to make sure the choice is a good one, based on sound, up-to-date information, not myths and rumors.
The gas debate literally hits us close to home. I grew up hearing my mother argue tirelessly for the superiority of gas over electric stoves, just as many great chefs do today. But I think even Mom would be impressed, as I am, by the speed, heat and efficiency of today’s induction cooktops and ranges.
They generate heat from an electromagnetic field below the glass cooktop surface, then transfer the current directly to magnetic cookware, causing it to heat up — in a matter of seconds.
Of course, they also can cost more, so shop around. Purchasers may be eligible for financial incentives created by Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, subject to abrupt changes in Washington politics.
As the oven debate heats up, I expect it to grow and go through changes like other debates over things that are good for us, like mandatory seat belts, or bad for us, like cigarette smoking.
I expect younger folks similarly will lead the way over time from gas to electric cooking. It’s becoming their world after all. I just feel lucky to be sticking around in it.
(E-mail Clarence Page at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
©2023 Clarence Page. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
(c) 2023 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.