EVERETT — Chef Hugo Carranza’s birria — a red meat stew — cooks for eight or nine hours on a gas stove to achieve its melt-in-your-mouth goodness to complement El Mariachi’s tacos.
Carranza learned to cook on natural gas in his home in Los Angeles, and has used natural gas in his business as it grew from an outdoor cart to a food truck and, finally, to a brick-and-mortar restaurant that opened in Everett. six months ago.
“I moved here in 2012, and that’s when I first saw an electric stove,” said Carranza. His house, like many in Washington, has an electric stove.
In fact, nearly a quarter of all homes in Washington have natural gas stoves, compared to 70% in California, according to the US Energy Information Administration. These leftovers have become the target of politicians and those who want to prevent the region from removing the fossil fuels that are driving climate change.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced that it will look into the health risks of gas stoves. And Bloomberg News reported it this month the federal agency may consider banning the beloved cooking oil. The news sparked a new political campaign, and highlighted the coast-to-coast efforts by progressive cities to phase out natural gas use in homes and businesses.
Although a gas stove ban is not on the table, some local and state leaders in Washington are working to eliminate gas in new homes and other leaders are working to ensure that the energy transition leaves no one behind. behind.
Is my gas stove making me sick?
Scientists and government agencies have long been aware of the health and environmental risks associated with using natural gas in homes.
Natural gas is mostly methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In short, it is very effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
When a person turns on their stove, they ignite gas, burning as water vapor and carbon dioxide. But the stove emits even when it is turned off. About three-quarters of its methane emissions occur when the stove is turned off, according to a peer-reviewed study published last year in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Over the course of a year, researchers found that US cooking gas emissions have the same impact as the carbon dioxide emissions from about 500,000 passenger cars.
Emily Moore, director of climate and energy issues at the Sightline Institute, a think tank, said: “Many of us think of greenhouse gases coming from power plants or car tailpipes. “But most of us have these little bugs inside our homes. We use them every day.”
In 2021, the EIA estimates that natural gas will account for more than a third of the nation’s total carbon dioxide emissions.
A study of the causes of carbon dioxide emissions, including outdoor activities such as transportation and recreation, found that a King County household emits about 42 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Domestic natural gas use is about 5 percent of that.
More than 40% of King County homes use natural gas for heating.
When natural gas is burned in furnaces to heat homes or heat water, the fumes are dispersed into the surrounding area. But, when burning on the stovetop or in the oven, the smoke is released directly into the living space, which may not have enough air.
A new study has confirmed that natural gas used in the home can release chemicals that cause cancer, and revealed that about 13% of childhood asthma cases in the US are due to the use of a gas stove.
Last month, environmental, health and housing advocates called on the government to remove gas stoves from the housing and urban development department.
Children make up a disproportionate share of the population living in public housing, and are more likely to suffer from respiratory diseases such as asthma than adults. Black, Puerto Rican and Native American children, in particular, are more likely to have asthma than white children.
How much does it cost to exchange electricity?
Refrigerant gas changes cause anxiety.
When gas customers leave, the company must pass the cost of running the pipeline to a smaller group of customers. These high bills can disproportionately affect low-income families.
As Puget Sound Energy begins to absorb its approximately 850,000 greenhouse gas customers, the average customer can expect to pay $4.88 per month for the remainder of 2023. It will be implemented until the end of this year, and will cause prices to increase in 2024.
Front and Centered, a grassroots-led global environmental justice movement, has been working to ensure that communities most affected by climate change and pollution are leading decisions about energy transition.
The group helped draft and implement the Clean Energy Transformation Act, which requires agencies to provide more energy assistance to low-income families, track progress and provide public outreach opportunities.
“It’s a challenge,” said Mariel Thuraisingham, Front and Centered’s pure-energy policy lead. “We want to establish the highest standard of how the equipment will show that the energy consumption is reduced and their customers are not really affected because the change to clean 100% is expensive.”
About 10,000 Puget Sound Energy customers will be given incentives to switch from natural gas to electric heating. And the Federal Inflation Reduction Act also opened rebates up to $840 for a new electric stove or controller, and an additional $500 for people switching from gas or propane. That return can make electric stoves pencil out to several hundred dollars.
But there is no guarantee that landlords will make costly changes to their tenants, and the changes have yet to reach many families.
Seattle and Shoreline vote to begin installing natural gas in new buildings. And while similar efforts failed in the state Legislature, the state legislative council voted last year to ban natural gas heating in new commercial buildings, apartments and houses.
Washington is leading the way in domestic electricity generation, but it hasn’t been without its challenges. Many of the new laws did not include stoves.
In Seattle, the energy transition allows commercial buildings and homes to be built with cooking gas. But electrical equipment was needed nearby for electric stoves to be installed later.
“The natural gas industry has been working hard to hide information about climate and health,” said Moore, with the Sightline Institute. “And I think that’s a big part of the story.”
Residents of Washington state may have received letters over the past few years touting the benefits of natural gas, influencing their home energy decisions.
In 2019, gas companies in Washington and Oregon pledged $1 million in public relations campaigns to promote their oil as part of the region’s energy future. The gas industry has created a partnership – Partnership for Energy Progress – including organizations, businesses and consumer groups to highlight the benefits of natural gas and help “avoid or overcome” the barriers to its use.