From Science Matters
By Ron Clutz
As explained below, the move against gas stoves is just an opening into a larger war against methane because of its CO2 emissions. Coal was bashed as a fuel already long ago, and now activists want to disqualify gas lest it serve as a bridge energy source with much lower CO2 emissions, delaying the desired upheaval. The current assault on domestic appliances should be seen as the thin edge of a wedge to destroy natural gas supply, in parallel with actions against coal and oil.
February 27, 2023 Update
From E & E Wire: DOE rule may block 50% of current gas stove models
Half of gas stove models sold in the United States today won’t comply with a first-ever efficiency regulation on cooking appliances, according to a new analysis from the Department of Energy.
The projection, which DOE posted online two weeks after the rule’s release Jan. 31, aims to provide more clarification on the expected impact of a proposal earlier this month that is now receiving comments from the public (Energywire, Feb. 1).
DOE says the cooking regulation will preserve some market share for gas stoves that have at least one high-input rate burner and continuous cast iron grates, two features that DOE determined are priorities for the public. Both features use a lot of energy.
If enacted, the proposed rule would be the second major DOE regulation affecting stovetops — existing standards prohibit constant burning pilots for gas cooking products. DOE is moving forward with the rule along with other efficiency standards, including for distribution transformers, washing machines and refrigerators (Energywire, Feb. 16).
Background from Previous Post: Gas Stoves Just a Starter
Mark Krebs and Tom Tanton explain the ins and outs of this new phase encroaching upon the citizenry where they live. Their Master Resource article is Gas Stoves: The Beloved Blue Flame is Just Better. Some excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images and headers.
The Larger Federal Goal: Transition Away from Natural Gas
The concern should not be about gas stove usage but the public policy of The Biden Administrative State to wean consumers off the direct use of natural gas and propane and on to electric appliances, ASAP. This “transition” includes how to heat your home, heat your water, cook, and drive.
Gas cooking is highly valued by consumers, virtually all of whom have normal taste buds. It is the one gas appliance that consumers see and use daily. The blue flame is part of home life, as is the fireplace run by gas or propane.
In contrast, the furnace and water heater usually tucked away in the basement or equipment closet and operate unseen. Also unseen are the legions of new electric power plants transmission lines and battery storage system to provide ostensibly “clean” juice for these new electric appliances and the serious environmental, strategic, and human rights impacts from mining and processing heavy metals and rare earths.
In fact, no one has done a comparative full fuel cycle analysis to document whether electrification is a good idea or a bad one; at least not a transparent analysis that has been subject to independent technical debate. Neither have the all-electrification busybodies presented a comprehensive plan to produce the millions of batteries necessary for the electrical grid to be able to handle all these new uses, while burdened by intermittent wind and solar.
Govt. Misdirection: Claims Gas Stoves Hazardous to Indoor Air Quality
The first ploy was to claim gas stoves are unsafe concerning air pollutants. Several problems with this attempt to regulate away these cooking appliances.
Fear mongering about the “existential threat” from Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hasn’t been working as well as planned. So maybe, they hope, additional fearmongering about how parents are putting their own children at risk due to respiratory ailments, such as asthma from your stove will do the trick.
There are at least three agencies leading the Biden Administration’s whole-of-government fossil-fuel eradication efforts. These are:
- DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy” (EERE)
- The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
None of these agencies have Congressional authority to regulate “indoor air pollution.” EERE has been pushing electrification at least since the Obama Administration, and it continued even throughout the Trump Administration. The Biden Administration simply removed the nominal (if any) restraints there may have been under Biden’s “whole of government” executive orders (EOs) to reduce GHG’s: e.g., Executive Order (EO) 13990.
In EERE’s case certain EO obstacles include that they still must act “as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.” The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) is one such law. EPCA is also supposed to promote regulatory objectivity. Under EPCA, DOE/EERE must also “consider” safety.
The science that the Biden Administration claims to guide such regulatory decisions
is far from conclusive that gas stoves are harmful.
Instead, the Biden Administration and its supporters “cherry pick” data that supports regulatory expansion. In this case, the science comes from the highly partisan Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). A major activity (and bias) of RMI is its “Electricity Innovation Lab. It reiterates RMI’s mission to achieve a carbon-free electricity monopoly.
According to independent scientific researchers with a deep knowledge of this subject, most of the “indoor air pollution” is emitted from the food itself being cooked. Such pollution is in the form of particulates from cooking food regardless of what form of energy is doing the cooking. Those particulates may be especially harmful to adolescent asthmatics.
More Govt. Hype: Replacements More Efficient than Gas Stoves
Government Orange Gas?
What is it exactly that DOE wants to force on consumers under the guise of “energy efficiency in the case of gas stoves? It appears to be a relatively new type of gas stove burner that glows orange (infrared, a.k.a., “radiant”) instead of the blue flames present in traditional burners that consumers are accustomed to. Infrared burners have been around for a long time, especially for gas BBQ grills but they don’t last long. Infrared burner adoption for consumer kitchen cooking appliances have been limited to a few high-end “prosumer” gas ranges. Costs for such models tend to be in the vicinity of $7,000 to $9,000. One example is Wolf/Sub Zero’s Model # GR364G with a MSRP of $8,760. And only the griddle portion of that model is infrared. According to DOE, there may be one model that is all infrared but good luck finding it.
In comparison, a basic electric range can be purchased for under $500. Granted, if DOE mandates infrared gas burners, mass production could decrease cost premiums. But for cost-conscious consumers, such premiums will likely far exceed those of electric stoves, even induction electric stoves.
Forcibly moving the market via equipment costs is a typical DOE strategy.
And then they say, “let the market decide.
Part of DOE’s bag of tricks for justifying higher gas appliance efficiencies is to minimize maintenance costs and safety concerns. At a minimum, “worst-case scenario” analyses are needed to determine how infrared burners perform in the “real world” of “messy” stoves. In messy situations, infrared burners may turn into product liabilities. And they may have to be replaced; that can quickly get expensive. It is at least possible that “dirty” infrared burners emit more pollutants than traditional blue flame burners. DOE needs to “consider” safety consequences of its energy efficiency proposals going forward. It is not evident that they have.
Likewise, DOE tends to minimize its estimations for what the increased prices will be that consumers must bear from increased efficiency. Taken together with other forms of analytical “trickery,” consumer cost-effectiveness can quickly become negative.
Since pictures are “worth a thousand words, see Shutterstock’s 223 images of infrared gas stoves. Several of these are pictures of infrared burners that have experienced obvious degradation from cooking spills.
There’s also movement on the electrical stove side of all this. That is, electric stoves continue to change and the technology du jour is the induction stove. Induction stoves electro-magnetically couple the stove with the pan, directly heating the pan and not the stove. They are more efficient than tradition hot coil electric resistance stoves but are also more expensive and require magnetic cookware. They too, have associated health risks (Induction stoves may not be safe to use with pacemakers; “People with pacemakers are better off avoiding induction stoves.”)
Perverse Incentives in Inflation reduction Act
The so-called Inflation Reduction Act provides perverse incentives for switching to electricity. These incentives are summarized as follows:
- Dangerous ‘Deep Decarbonization’ (Krebs PowerPoint to Cooler Heads Coalition)
- “Rare Earths,” Electrification Mandates, and Energy Security (Part II)
- “Rare Earths,” Electrification Mandates, and Energy Security (Part I)
DOE also needs to consider the safety feature of having a gas stove during extended electric grid blackouts that may make the difference between consumers and their water pipes freezing or not. This benefit was widely observed in Texas during Winter Storm Uri.
To make a logical scientific argument about consumer safety concerns with gas burners, DOE must clearly and transparently demonstrate a safety issue with conventional “blue flame” burners. Instead, DOE is proposing a one-way move to infrared burners based upon theoretical economic operating cost advantages of a few percentage points.
Meanwhile, DOE is not mandating a move from electric resistance stoves to higher efficiency electric induction stoves that, according to the EPA, can be “5-10% more efficient than conventional electric resistance units.” EPA’s verbiage following that quote states: “and about 3 times more efficient than gas.” That latter verbiage is tantamount to professing a belief that electricity is magically created inside of the house’s electric meter. This is pretty much “par for the course” for the Biden Administration’s “Green New Deal” energy and environmental policies.
Under EPCA’s anti-backsliding provisions, once infrared burners are mandated, there is no going back to traditional (blue flame) gas burners. Thus, if consumers want to regain better cooking maintenance and reliability, they can only switch to electric stoves. We think that’s their plan! Consumers will probably choose electric resistance varieties due to their relatively low initial purchase cost. What this portends, at least for the next few decades, is that energy efficiency when measured over the complete fuel-cycle is massively reduced throughout most of the United States where fossil fuels still dominate electric grid generation. The same goes for emissions when measured along the complete fuel-cycle.
The direct use of natural gas makes the most sense economically and environmentally for consumers. Consumers are losing that choice.
Conclusion–Why The Crusade?
Why is the Biden Administration messing with a piece of Americana. Is it to try the hardest part first? Or because “clean” electrification is where the money is? With passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, it is definitely where the subsidies are. The enormity of these subsidies are like an all-you-can-eat buffet for Green New Deal enrichment.
Phasing out natural gas and propane is not merely for the U.S. to meet its commitments for “deep decarbonization” per the UN’s Paris accords. It’s also about “great reset” social control. With the advent of “smart” electric meters and appliances, it’s relatively easy to centrally control electricity usage.
Coupled with digital currency, it then becomes relatively easy to control behavior, such as remotely changing YOUR living room thermostat or disabling your car. Early dinner? No: you’ll cook when the power is temporarily turned on to your stove. But if you project the correct attitude of cheerful compliance, you may be awarded with an extra ration of electricity.
DOE needs to stop politicizing energy appliances on unfounded predictions that “clean” renewable electricity will soon dominate the grid. This scenario is not at all probable given the cost and enormity of the quest. Big Brother is already running wild and must be leashed/removed. Given that DOE’s proposed rule calls for yearly energy consumption limits for cooking appliances, rationing might not be totally far-fetched. The time to expose and eradicate is now.
Appendices to Master Resource Article
Appendix A: Call To Action (Next Steps, What You Can Do)
Appendix B: Further Reading
Obviously, bans against ICE vehicles will also prohibit those running on LNG (Liquified Natural Gas). See Consumers Report: Tesla Road Trip
As for fertilizer banning, half of the people on Earth are alive today thanks to nitrogenous fertilizers made of and with natural gas. So why are governments at home and abroad scrambling to cut off humanity’s natural gas supply?
See Natural Gas – Generated Nitrogenous Fertilizers Prevent Worse World Hunger