NYC & Many Other Large Cities in The USA To Ban Natural Gas

ByMarc Silberberg


Many years ago, a new and larger home was on the horizon for our family. We were excited about having more room and a larger kitchen and we were so enthusiastic about the fact that our house would finally be connected to a gas line. This was over thirty years ago when switching to gas was considered the wise choice both financially and ecologically. An oil truck would pass by our house every so often to gauge if we needed more oil for our tank that controlled the heating and hot water. There was a hole with a cover on our property and an oil man would fill it with oil when needed. As far as the oven and dryer they were completely electric. Not only did our clothes dryer take longer to do its job but our electric bill was astronomical. Besides our regular electric costs such as central air and lights we were paying high prices for our electric dryer’s electricity costs. The bills were adding up, but we had no choice as there were no gas lines at that time on our block.

In our present home, we enjoy the advantages of gas cooking, drying our clothes and heating our home. Although our home is much larger than our first, we discovered that we were getting more for our money with gas. It certainly was a practical and clean choice. Cooking with gas was a pleasure as well.

The New Ban on Natural Gas

A new law has been voted into certain city councils banning the use of natural gas in new buildings including New York City. This includes gas-powered appliances such as gas dryers and stoves. This ban will take effect in 2023 for any building that is under seven stories and higher buildings will have to switch away from gas by 2027.

According to advocates of these bills, there is presently a climate crisis and gas-powered appliances are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. In New York the percentage is seventy percent and in order to “decarbonize” we have to curtail the burning of fossil fuels. Buildings are responsible for forty percent of the greenhouse gas emissions.

What Exactly Do the Words Decarbonize & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Mean?

The goal of these new energy bills is to go from fossil fuel combustion domination to an energy system of zero carbon dioxide emissions. The overwhelming majority of greenhouse gas emissions are made up of carbon dioxide. When coal, oil and natural gas are burned to create electricity, these CO2 gasses are released into the environment. Decarbonizing means stopping carbon dioxide from being released during the burning of these types of fuels.

New York City has many old buildings which would not be involved in this ban. It’s the new construction that is going to be geared to fully electrifying the energy systems. This market already has HVAC contractors, distributors and designers who are ready to begin using these eco- friendly tactics of construction. The confirmation of this new law in New York City will have a snowball effect eventually on old buildings requesting updated heating equipment. For example, once this law goes into effect home heater installation companies will become knowledgeable about these new electric systems so distributors will have these eco-friendly machines in stock. This change from gas to electricity is called electrification.

At least forty-two cities in California including such major cities as San Jose, Berkeley and San Francisco have already enacted these laws. Now that New York City has passed this ban many other major cities will follow suit. Ithaca, New York has enacted to not only ban gas power in new construction but wants to convert all major home appliances to electric.

Why Is Electrification Better Than Natural Gas?

The present fossil fuels used in offices and homes release carbon emissions which pollute the air and cause climate changes according to their advocates. Gas cooking, clothes drying, and home heating are all contributors to this pollution.

The way we obtain natural gas has some pundits claiming that the drilling and fracking of natural gas impacts the climate negatively. According to researchers at Cornell University the primary ingredient of natural gas is methane which causes harmful emissions into the air. Gas leaks from appliances and other gas sources cause methane emissions into the environment. Much of New York State’s power is currently generated by natural gas with five out of the ten power plants gas powered.

Problems of The Switch from Natural Gas to Electricity

1) Higher prices will affect the poorer citizens of New York City. As cited at the beginning of this article, natural gas is a more economical alternative to electric power. The average cost to heat a home in the New York area is $865 each winter with natural gas. The average cost to heat the same amount in the same area with electricity is $1,538 per winter. This is a whopping 78% higher than gas. The people who will be the most affected in this increase of heating bills will be the low and middle-income consumers.

2) Where is all the electricity going to come from? Yes, supporters of this bill are looking to convert the energy grid to wind and solar energy but how soon and how much will actually be produced for a reliable grid? What happens when too much electricity is consumed in a hot summer or a frigid winter?

Let’s look at what happened back in February in Texas. A state that is not used to a blizzard was hit with one last winter which left 700 people dead and caused widespread blackouts. No city or state should be foolish enough to put all their eggs in one basket. According to energy expert, Robert Bryce we need the natural gas network since it can more easily adapt to big surges in the energy supply. In fact, more energy is used on the coldest days of winter than during the hottest days of summer.

Summer is a time that I remember several major blackouts in New York City. Subways were stopped, air conditioners did not work and heat stroke, which is dangerous and deadly, was rampant. If someone did not have a car with air conditioning to run to and cool off there was no place to find relief. Trying to decrease carbon emissions is nice in theory but just may be a short-sighted plan. About a dozen towns in Massachusetts have partnered with the Rocky Mountain Institute that received a large grant of millions from the Jeff Bezos Earth Fund last year. This fund campaigns to restrict the use of natural gas in both commercial buildings and private homes. Who says that Bezos will continue to fund this short-sighted policy indefinitely?


I don’t believe there is anyone on this planet who does not want to save it from self-destruction. Short term energy conservation plans are called by energy experts such as Robert Bryce, as committing economic and energy suicide. How is a big city such as New York going to handle a stiff winter or a scorching summer with only electrical energy? We’ve been there and done that several times with catastrophic results. Why not start this idea in small towns first and see how it develops? Why put large cities with their poor populations in jeopardy when the people will not be able to pay for the increased cost of electrical energy?

According to New York City council member Alicka Ampry-Samuel who sponsored the new bill banning gas, “buildings are responsible for nearly half of the greenhouse emissions that are destroying our Earth every day”. She compared the ban to these conservation methods, shorter showers, recycling, and prohibiting the single-use straws. With this she included decreasing the use of plastic such as bags, cutlery and plates. No intelligent individual would equate these conservation methods with the ban on natural gas. Thirty years ago, natural gas was considered the “clean” method of energy as opposed to coal and oil. Meanwhile these same anti-natural gas advocates are burning oil and gas in their large vans and luxury automobiles. While on a crowded highway have you noticed how many cars have more than one individual riding in them? It’s easy to tell on the roadways that have carpool lanes for three or more people. Many of the cars on the roads have two or less passengers.

The New York City government and other large cities in the U.S. should not have been so short sighted and selfish by banning natural gas before coming up with viable alternatives. What is going to be powering all these electrical facilities? Solar and wind energy are not yet developed enough, and I certainly dread hearing about major blackouts in either this winter or next summer. What about you? Hopefully this ban will not be coming to your city anytime soon.

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