Environmental Banning Movement Claims Another Victim: Good Food

Straws. “Single-use” bags. Fracking. Kids’ fast food meal toys. Water bottles. Environmentalists’ rush to ban things that improve people’s lives is about to claim a new victim – good-tasting food.

Bloomberg reports that Berkeley, California’s ban on using natural gas in new homes or businesses has chefs and restauranteurs raising the alarm that food is about to taste a lot worse:

The California Restaurant Association is warning that the flame-seared meat and charred vegetables that foodies have grown so accustomed to ordering will become a thing of the past in Berkeley, California, which in July became the first city in America to end new gas hook-ups in an effort to curb global-warming emissions. The group is suing the city in federal court.

Taking away a chef’s natural gas stove is akin to “taking paint away from a painter and asking them to create a masterpiece,” said Robert Phillips, a chef and chairman of the Chef De Cuisine Association of California.

Bloomberg says Berkeley isn’t an isolated case:

At least a dozen other cities in California have passed similar measures, and the movement is bleeding into communities outside the Golden State. Brookline, a town outside of Boston, voted this week to block gas hookups in new buildings. Seattle has also been considering a ban. Two major utilities in New York have imposed moratoriums on new service as the state blocks pipeline projects.

Just as proposals to ban natural gas infrastructure projects are misguided, Berkeley and other cities are missing the bigger picture when it comes to natural gas.

The role of natural gas in reducing carbon emission – not to mention providing people with a reliable energy source – is widely accepted and underpinned by a steady stream of data:

  • Nearly one-fifth of total U.S. emissions savings since 2010 have been the result of coal-to-gas switching, according to the analysis, according to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
  • Globally, the IEA said more than 500 million tons of CO2 emissions have been avoided in the past decade as a result of increased use of natural gas.
  • The U.S. Energy Information Administration says energy-related carbon emissions are about 13 percent below 2005 levels as a result of greater use of natural gas.
  • This trend is expected to continue in 2019, with the EIA predicting natural gas to help drive a 2 percent decrease in energy-related carbon emissions.

Instead of enacting laws and pursuing policies that inconvenience taxpayers and reduce their quality of life, policymakers should focus on realistic and meaningful solutions with realistic timelines that won’t negatively impact American families.