[Nov 9-15 2020] The climate and health bomb in your home

  
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Welcome to this weeks edition of The Weekly Climate! 🎉

I love to cook. Currently, I’m really into Mexican. My coup de gras at the moment is smokey roasted chicken tacos with a goat cheese jalapeño sauce. Currently, I’m cooking on our old gas stove which stood here when we moved in. But that’s about to change. I used to belong to the tribe of people thinking that cooking with gas was just better. After all, the pros does it, right?

Think again.

As it turns out, the whole #cookingwithgas thing is yet another fossil fuel industry propaganda play to get you to share your love for fossil fuels. So yes, if you like me thought cooking with gas was better then you’ve been fooled by the fossil fuel industry. In fact, the fossil fuel industry is actively waging wars against cities who try to block new gas hookups — as Seattle tried last year. They’re using clever PR firms like CBE Strategic to design campaigns and lobby politicians to prevent cities from doing what Seattle tried to do. That company was literally given the job to “develop an action plan targeted at countering 350.org’s efforts” and “stopping local governments” from enacting restrictions on gas, according to a summary document of the work (quote from this).

And they don’t shy away from using a pandemic like COVID to threaten lawmakers into killing anti fossil fuel regulation. In April 2020 SoCalGas and it’s union threatened San Luis Obispo, CA, who wanted to make it easier to build all electric buildings by launching large protests where quote: “... there will be no social distancing in place”. Think this only happen in the U.S.? Think again it’s spreading.

And these fossil fuel manipulations are even not the worst part. Not by a long shot.

Do you have kids? Kids have a 42% — read that again — 42% higher risk of getting asthma in homes with a gas stove. 42%! That’s a coin-toss of a difference whether your kids develop asthma or not. In a study from Australia 12% of all childhood asthma-cases was found due to gas stoves. Not only that, but gas stoves emits huge amounts of nitrous oxide and even carbon monoxide — you know, what people who commit suicide using a car and a hose die from.

Oh and the final thing. Fossil gas (aka ‘natural’ gas) is really mainly methane which is a greenhouse gas that is 30x more potent than CO2. And when you light the stove, that methane turns into CO2 as well as all these other pollutants that causes asthma.

Think about this for a second. We have an industry, that is spending millions of dollars every year on propaganda against you and to lobby politicians to block action against these mass-polluters in our homes. Pollution that has a 50/50 chance of giving your kids asthma and runs on a greenhouse gas 30x more powerful than CO2. Think about that. Why do we allow this to happen?

To solve the climate crisis one of the key things that we must do is to replace all fossil fuels with a cleaner alternative. Just about all the replacements we need to make, doesn’t really need a climate crisis as a motivator. By this I mean: The replacement is usually cheaper, more convenient and oh, doesn’t kill people. This for sure one is one of these cases.


📰 In the news

Here are the most interesting and important news items from last week!

🇺🇸 Story we follow: U.S. Presidential Election

Ok final post about U.S. Election I “promise”:

☠️ Story we follow: BPs climate aspirations

BP has announced that it will slash oil production by 40%. If history teaches us anything it is that this will be just another load of bullcrap just like Beyond Petroleum were 20 years ago. But we will see. By putting the story up top here we aim to track it carefully.

Climate & Science

💨 Atlantic hurricane season breaks record with hurricane Theta (and just prior to publishing time Iota) and also hurricane Eta makes fourth, FOURTH landfall. As it turns out global warming makes hurricanes weaken slower after hitting land.

🐦 Climate change threaten great tits! True story. Kudos to my fellow ornithologists out there who didn’t just click that link to see great tits. Or maybe you did. 🙃

🍀 World Heritage Status for Scottish peat bogs could help UK net zero goals, among them the world’s largest carbon store.

Technology

☀️ Global renewable investments fall short of reaching climate goals.

💨 .. but despite that wind and solar capacity will overtake coal and gas by 2024.

🍭 New record for U.S. Wind Turbine installations.

Startups

🏆 Spotlight on Totamak Energy, a promising fusion startup from Berkshire.

🔋 M&G’s infrastructure arm invests 150M GBP in UK battery startup Zenobe.

💩 Ways2H converts waste into hydrogen.

Investing

🥴 It’s hard to tell how serious banks are about climate change as the economy is headed that way anyway.

🔥 The Central Bank of the US has identified climate change as a risk for the first time ever.

☠️ 935 companies should be blacklisted for their ties to the coal industry.

Major Carbon Emitters

☠️ How one consulting company (FTI Consulting) drove propaganda campaigns for big oil.

💪 The world’s biggest coal company warns of second bankruptcy in 5 years.

🏭 Fossil fuel companies aren’t doing shit about reducing emissions despite lots of PR.

🌫 Approx 265M$ of Polish tax payer money went to an abandoned coal power plant.

Politics

💉 COVID recovery plans threaten climate action.

🕳 If you hadn’t noticed, politicians like to set goals decades ahead but flinch when it comes to immediate action.

🏆 A list of the countries pioneering a greener future — and it’s not who you hear most about.

✉️ Leading climate scientists urges political leaders to go beyond net zero and restore the climate by removing CO2 from the atmosphere as well.

Climate Justice

✅ Here’s what it will take for Biden Harris to deliver on climate justice.

🔥A Korean palm oil giant has been buying up rainforest in Asia only to set it on fire.

🏭 A japanese coal power plant in Java threaten local communities.

All we can save bookclub and other books

📕 Heated bookclub week 6 — and a look at people who voted for Biden for the environment.

Other

🧘‍♂️ Buddha would have been green, says Dalai Lama. And he’s not the only religious leader who’s pushing for climate action.

🍆 The tragedy of climate dildos. Yes there is such a thing.

Key podcasts


💪One way to take action: Banish gas stoves

The Problem: Gas stoves and the war for your indoor climate

I feel like I already highlighted the problem of gas stoves in the introduction. So we’re going to skip the problem description and instead go straight to the solutions. If you haven’t read the introduction to this newsletter I encourage you to go read it now.

Solution(s): Pass the gas 🍑💨

Sorry. With all this ominous talk about gas I had to make one joke.

The good news about the problem of gas stoves is that it’s pretty easily solvable. All it takes is for you replace your gas stove with a different kind. This is among the top personal climate actions that you can do for the climate but also for the health of your family. However, depending on what kind of home you live in it maybe varyingly challenging.

One action: Get rid of your gas stove

Before you get rid of your gas stove the most important thing you need to do is to figure out if the electricity installation in your house can power an induction or ceramic stove. Then what you need to do depends on your situation:

Don’t have gas? You remember the action from last week about talking? That one works for the gas stoves too. Next time you’re at somebody’s house and they have a gas stove tell them about how bad it is — for the climate and the health of the inhabitants, especially if they have small children.

House-owners. If you own your house then it’s the easiest of all. All it takes for you is to go to a store, pick a new stove, and have them install the new one and then get “somebody” to remove your gas installation. This is mandatory in some countries such as Denmark here you cannot have a gas installation that is not in use. Kind of makes sense for fire hazards I guess, but probably also just another barrier the fossil fuel industry has managed to put up. Therefore you probably need to contact whoever supplies your gas and talk with them to figure what needs to happen.

Apartments. Before researching for this newsletter I actually thought that it was something of a hassle to do. But at least in Denmark it seems pretty easy. You need to do three things:

  1. Figure out if it’s allowed to take down your gas installation in your apartment. Some apartment buildings doesn’t allow it.

  2. Get the gas installation taken down by contacting who supplies your gas and get them to come and shut it down.

  3. Buy a new stove

Now this is where the fun begin. If you’re friendly with your neighbors perhaps you can organize that everyone or a lot of people switch away from gas stoves. Suddenly, you’ve not only helped yourself create a better indoor climate and reduced emissions, but you’ve helped multiple people in your building do the same 😎. Perhaps you can even get a better deal on the various parts of the process if you’re more people?

Renters. If you’re renter you probably in bad luck as it’s highly unlikely that you have the right to replace the stove. But there’s a few things that you can try, especially if you have a good relationship with your landlord.

  1. Talk to them about the threat of gas stoves in homes both the health and climate angles. If you’re lucky they might just care enough about these things that they want to do it anyway. Again this is a great opportunity for achieving scale, especially if your landlord owns multiple properties.

  2. Ask them if you can replace it if you pay for it yourself. Provided that you’re willing to do that. I would guess that for most landlords this would be a no-brainer. Perhaps you can ask for small rent drop if you do it or something similar.

I can’t / won’t replace it. Perhaps you like cooking with a gas stove despite what I’ve been telling you in this newsletter or perhaps you simply don’t have the funds to replace your stove. That’s fair and 100% an issue with this transformation we have to go through. But you can still talk. Talk to your friends, family and co-workers about the threat of gas stoves in homes.

Community: Help us stranger

Here’s a few things I would love to hear your answer to in the comments below:

Do you have a gas stove? Are you getting rid of it? If not, why not? Have you already gotten rid of it? Why did you do it? Was it difficult? Can you mobilize other people to get rid of it?


That’s it for this week folks! If you feel like I’m missing something, please let me know.

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See you all next week 👋