Gas stoves, health, and climate change | Opinion

Most people want to switch to clean energy.  We want clean air, and we want to stop heating up the planet.  Those that profit from fossil fuels, though, try to keep us using the products that make them rich.  That’s what the January 25 column by Florida Natural Gas Association Executive Director Dale Calhoun does.  Contrary to his claims:

Natural gas is not “safe.”  An accumulation of leaked gas, ignited by a spark, can explode.  Gas stoves leak unburned methane even when not in use.  During combustion they produce dangerous pollutants including formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide.  OSHA warns that that long term exposure to formaldehyde increases the risk of nose and lung cancer.  Carbon monoxide is so dangerous that gas appliance users are advised to install carbon monoxide detectors.

The climate friendly choice is high efficiency electric appliances, not gas.  Heat pump furnaces, heat pump water heaters, heat pump dryers, and induction stoves are more efficient than either older electric appliances or gas appliances, and as utilities generate more and more electricity from clean sources like solar, the climate advantage of the new electric appliances over gas grows.  Tallahassee already has two solar farms, and more are coming.

Gas stoves are not better.  Induction stoves heat food faster and allow more precise temperature control than gas.  Cooks who have switched, rave about the ease of cooking with Induction stoves.  Induction cooking is safer than either old electric ranges or gas.  A single stand-alone induction burner is available now from Amazon for as little as $45.

Gas is not cheaper.  Events like the war in Ukraine cause gas prices to rise.  They’re up now, and they’re expected to continue to rise.  Sun and wind are free and the cost of technology to use them is coming down.

Gas is not better for the economy.  The transition to clean energy will create huge numbers of new jobs.  The real economy killer is climate change.  Switching to clean energy saves the climate and the economy.

The reliability of gas is overstated.  Many gas appliances require electricity to work.  And as the city moves to solar, it will find ways to make the grid more stable.

Most Floridians don’t use gas stoves.  Most who do won’t make an instant switch.  Over time, though, concern about climate change, and health, and experience with induction stoves will lead to the right result.  In the meantime, don’t be fooled by fossil fuel propaganda.

Steve Been
Steve Been

Steve Been is a former chair of the Leon County Democratic Environmental Caucus.  He can be reached at


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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Gas stoves, health, and climate change | Opinion