The fight against climate change also takes place in your kitchen

According to this study, all methane emissions from the 43 million gas stoves used in the United States are equivalent to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 500,000 gasoline-powered cars per year.

These areas release between 0.8% and 1.3% of natural gas as unburned methane, a key greenhouse gas. Compared to carbon dioxide, methane has a global warming potential that is 86 times greater over a 20-year period. And at least 34 times larger over a 100-year period.

Even more surprising is that three quarters of these emissions occur when the stove is off.

We found that off-gas methane emissions account for more than three quarters of total methane emissions. And the total amount of methane released from gas stoves increases the climate impact of their use by 39%. »

A quote from Éric Lebel, lead author of the study and researcher at PSE Healthy Energy

Natural gas fumes would not only be harmful to the environment, they would also pose a health risk. The Stanford University study finds that methane released from gas stoves threatens air quality.

Residents are more directly exposed to emissions from their stove than from their boiler. These fumes can contain carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, which researchers say are responsible for several respiratory diseases, including asthma.

We know that every gesture counts to reduce fossil fuel consumption. The choice of your oven also weighs in on the scales. Elisa Serret’s report.

Gas stoves are less common in Canada than in the United States, all things considered. Their use remains moderate: According to the latest figures from 2018, there are about 1.4 million gas stoves in the country, or 9% of all domestic stoves.

In Quebec, 98,900 homes are equipped with gas stoves, or 3%. While they only make up a small percentage of household appliances, the situation in the hospitality industry is very different.

Gas culture in restaurants

Renowned Quebec chef Normand Laprise is deeply concerned about the environment, but admits the gas stove is part of restaurant culture. My generation of chefs, before and after, we are all gas, says Mr. Laprise, owner of the Toqué restaurant! to Montreal.

Nevertheless, the chef is a fan of cooking with an induction hob, which he uses in his house and partly in his restaurant.

He smiles in front of a microphone.

Chef Normand Laprise, owner of the famous Toqué restaurant! to Montreal

Photo: Radio Canada / Étienne Côté-Paluck

If I had to cook everything in the restaurant, I think I’d be fully induction-capable at the cold pantry level – for starters – and in the pastry shop. Maybe I’d save gas for the hot, that is, the meat cuts. »

A quote from Normand Laprise, chef of the Toqué restaurant!

However, according to the chef, not all restaurateurs would consider 100 percent electrical circuitry, particularly because of the costs involved. Upgrading existing facilities would be enormously expensive, and no restaurant could survive, he explains. It costs less to have a gas inlet installed than to place entire electrical boxes in the building.

Renowned chef Daniel Vézina, owner of the Laurie Raphaël restaurant in Quebec, also has gas stoves in his restaurant. ans que je suis en cuisine, raconte-t-il. Quand tu rentres le matin, c’est toujours comme ça: ça sent le gaz partout dans la cuisine. C’est probablement des émanations volatiles parce que les fourneaux sont tout le temps allumés.”,”text”:”Cela fait 40ans que je suis en cuisine, raconte-t-il. Quand tu rentres le matin, c’est toujours comme ça: ça sent le gaz partout dans la cuisine. C’est probablement des émanations volatiles parce que les fourneaux sont tout le temps allumés.”}}”>I’ve been in the kitchen for 40 years, he says. When you come home in the morning, it’s always like this: the kitchen smells of gas everywhere. It’s probably fugitive fumes because the ovens are on all the time.

If he is planning to buy an induction cooker for his apartment, he is still very attached to cooking with gas in his restaurant. There’s something organic about cooking with flames, he says. A cook’s job is to control the heat […] It’s a very instinctive cooking method, while induction is more cerebral.

Daniel Vézina sits in front of a microphone.

Chef Daniel Vezina

Photo: Radio Canada / Étienne Côté-Paluck

Given what the science says, would he be willing to do away with his gas ranges in his restaurant kitchen? I think I would be willing to make that gesture. We really need to reduce these greenhouse gases, and all of these stoves emit methane. We know how harmful that is. I would be willing to make an effort, sure it would be a habit to changehe replies.

Prohibit gas connection

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recommended in May 2021 a ban on the sale of new fossil fuel boilers by 2025 to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Initiatives are emerging in Canada to limit the supply of natural gas to households. Local and provincial governments are beginning to enact residential energy use legislation.

For example, the Quebec government passed a law last December that will ban the installation of new oil-fired heating systems from 2024.

In Vancouver, any new heating system or hot water system must be carbon neutral by 2025. Almost 60% of Vancouver’s greenhouse gases come from burning natural gas for space heating and water, with 28% for individual homes.

Toronto skyscraper silhouette view.  CN Tower and Rogers Center Stadium.

Toronto city view.

Photo: Radio Canada / Mateo Garcia-Tremblay

In Toronto, about 50% of greenhouse gas emissions come from burning natural gas in buildings. The city’s City Council passed a strategy in July 2021 that sets the move away from natural gas as a requirement to become carbon neutral by 2040.

As for Montreal, the city aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 to be carbon neutral by 2050. Is there a ban on connecting to natural gas in new buildings? That’s what the city says reflect Has Solutions in line with set goals in its climate plan.

The federal government aims to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 percent within the next eight years, they say The 2030 Emission Reduction Plan : Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy, presented last week. Specifically, $33 million will be allocated to establish a home renovation grant program.

A movement that is gaining momentum in the United States

In a new apartment in New York, it will soon be impossible to connect a gas stove. The city last December passed a law banning natural gas in new construction, making the megalopolis the largest city in America to ban or restrict the use of natural gas for cooking or heating.

A view of Manhattan with a thick layer of smog.

New York City is taking major strides to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas. Pictured: Manhattan struggles with a thick layer of smog.

Photo: Reuters/BRENDAN MCDERMID

Using natural gas for heating and cooking accounts for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. A third of the households there are equipped with gas stoves. In order to achieve their carbon neutrality goals, cities do not want to further expand their distribution network.

This decision is part of a movement initiated by several democratic cities aimed at restricting or banning natural gas in the residential sector. The university city of Berkeley, California, was the first to pass such a law in 2019.

And the movement has grown: More than 50 California cities have since restricted or banned natural gas connections in new or existing buildings.

However, about twenty Republican states are attempting to curb these municipal initiatives. This is especially true in Arizona, Texas, Florida or Tennessee, which have enacted laws to make any kind of ban in this sense illegal.

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