by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
In a recent post, I discussed the sudden war on gas-fired stoves and appliances being waged by environmental extremists in government, not just in the Biden administration but even in many cities and counties and some states, too.
As I noted, they would include North Carolina if Gov. Roy Cooper were to get his way:
Meanwhile, the governor of North Carolina released a “Deep Decarbonization” report that included “Building Decarbonization,” which would require all new homes, apartments and businesses to be 100% electric (appliances, heating, water heaters) and explore retrofitting the rest.
The governor of course offered no research to estimate any expected climate change mitigation from adopting these new restrictions. Nor would North Carolina’s sympathetic political media even think to request them. They are of a mind that North Carolina could produce world-changing emissions reductions, even though it would be utterly impossible for an area as small as North Carolina with so relatively few emissions to cut, especially when compared with massive emissions increases by China and the rest of the world. (For further discussion of all those matters, see the research brief “North Carolina’s CO2 Emissions Were Already Cut Nearly in Half Before the Carbon Plan.”)
Responsible leaders should try to protect North Carolinians from such expensive, fantasy-based policymaking.
They also seem to think that the massive expenses such North Carolina–specific restrictions would impose on North Carolinians would be worth it. If there’s a price too high in their minds for us to pay to “fight climate change” by taking things away from people (reliable electricity, natural gas pipelines, gasoline-powered automobiles and trucks, gas-fired appliances, etc.) and forcing us to buy and try to work with their shoddier replacements, we’ve yet to hear it.
Responsible leaders should try to keep North Carolinians from being subjected to such expensive, fantasy-based policymaking, whether from the governor or from local government activists going it alone.
A bill before the General Assembly, House Bill 30, as introduced would prohibit cities and counties from adopting ordinances that would either ban or effectively ban certain consumer choices in home appliances based on what kind of energy source they need, regardless of whether “the energy source is derived from one or more of a variety of sources such as natural gas, renewable gas, hydrogen, liquified petroleum gas, renewable liquified petroleum gas, or other liquid petroleum products.”
Essentially, the bill would prevent cities and counties from outlawing gas-fired appliances for space heating, water heating, lighting, cooling, cooking, or conducting other operations around the home. It would recognize the very real expenses and hardships on people of taking working alternatives — market choices — away on a lark.
That kind of thinking has already made rolling blackouts a North Carolina possibility rather than a California policy consequence. What could make blackouts worse? Not even being able to heat your home, cook for your family, or take a hot shower because the local government has outlawed nonelectric appliances.
Regardless, a free society would not mind if some people choose home appliances powered by something other than electricity. H.B. 30 would protect consumer choice in their appliances.