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two cooks using a gas stove
#12 News 2023

January 26, 2023

Firing Up the Debate: Why Are People Arguing About Gas Stoves?

Is the government actually coming for your gas stove?

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Summary

The news is heating up with a debate about the use of gas stoves, which is quickly becoming a hot topic around Washington, D.C., and the rest of the country. But why?

Advocates for reducing the use of gas stoves raise two main concerns: climate and public health. Gas stoves are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change; and the extraction, transportation and burning of natural gas for cooking releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Although natural gas is considered to be a cleaner-burning fossil fuel than coal or oil, it still releases CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere when burned. These pollutants can have negative health effects, particularly for children and people with respiratory issues. 

Cows and Climate

Learn how cow burps contribute to the climate crisis with this PBS NewsHour Classroom current events lesson.

In response to these concerns, some governments and organizations are promoting the use of electric and induction stoves, which do not release pollutants into the air and are safer for the environment. Some areas in the United States and other countries have been phasing out the production of new gas stoves and promoting the replacement of existing gas stoves with electric or induction technologies.

It's worth noting that some companies are developing cleaner-burning natural gas stoves, which are less polluting and more efficient. Some companies are also working on smart gas stoves that can be controlled by a smartphone app, and can save energy and gas in response to the complaints of leaking gas even when they are turned off.

There are a variety of activities and videos below to choose from that cover the nascent gas stove debate, its impact on the climate, your health, and resources on how to foster healthy classroom debate. Choose activities most relevant to your class and the amount of time you have.

Remote video URL

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the purpose of the Consumer Product Safety Commission?
  2. What breathing issues could gas stoves cause, and what percent of cases come from exposure to gas stoves indoors?
  3. The CPSC has mentioned that although it is looking to evaluate the purported hazards of gas stoves, the commission is not actually trying to ban them. Do you think the issue has been blown out of proportion?
  4. How is an induction stove different from a gas or electric stove?
  5. What does the appliance store owner think is the best choice? What do you think?

Media Literacy Exercise

Some news outlets have spread misinformation about the government coming to replace your gas stove and other appliances, but experts say this is improbable and may only affect new construction. Why do you think these organizations make misleading claims?

  • Find more resources on identifying misinformation with NewsGuard on Share My Lesson.

Show Me the Stoves!

Examine this map from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and consider the questions below.

gas stoves in the US
 

Discussion Questions

  • Where are gas stoves most prominent in the U.S.? Why do you think two of the most populous states are trying to ban stoves?
  • Some people may argue that gas stoves are more convenient to use, especially in places where electricity is unreliable, while others may argue that electric stoves are safer, and easier to maintain. Although the operation of gas stoves is cheaper, they ultimately use more energy.
    • Do you think it's unfair to tell people which appliance they can and can’t use? Why might it be different from someone living in Los Angeles compared with someone living in the countryside? Why or why not?
       

Gas Stoves: Heating Up the Earth?

Watch this video from CBS News and consider the questions below.

Remote video URL

Discussion Questions

  • Which greenhouse gases are stoves reported to emit millions of tons of each year? Do they have to be turned on for this to occur?
    • Bonus: How many cars is this equal to in carbon dioxide emissions yearly?
  • What else can contribute to dangerous pollutants residing in your home?
  • Why does the reporter say this could be an environmental justice issue?
     
Fostering Healthy Debate: Civil Discourse Classroom Resources

Lesson Plans on Climate Change

Explore more resources for educators to find a wide-range of relevant preK-12 lessons on climate change or supporting young people as they continue to lead the conversation around the climate change crisis.

Andy Kratochvil

Andy Kratochvil is an SML team member who loves hiking, scary books, Mexican food, and finding great content for the Share My Lesson community.He studied political science and French at California State University, Fullerton and received his Master’s in International Affairs from American University

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