by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Natural gas is a clean and affordable fuel used by millions of Americans every day to cook, heat water, and provide warm homes in the winter. We appreciate its benefits, even if we don’t think about them very often.
Just because most of us may not think about natural gas, however, doesn’t mean that the climate warriors do likewise. They think about it constantly. That includes New Mexico’s senior U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D.), who recently wrote in the New York Times that “working to electrify our vehicles, homes and businesses is a critical part of achieving economy wide net-zero emissions.”
Unfortunately, in Heinrich’s parlance, “electrification” does not mean bringing much-needed electricity to impoverished corners of our country, including the Navajo Reservation right here in New Mexico. No, the legislation he’s pushing in Congress — and the funding he’s advocating in the infrastructure bill, specifically — do nothing of the sort. By “electrification,” the senator means that he’d like federal, state, and local governments to phase out or completely ban your natural-gas stove, oven, and furnace, thus requiring you to use electric heat and stoves.
While it may seem “fringe” to many, this is a policy that could be coming to a city near you sometime soon. According to the Sierra Club, Sacramento recently became the 46th U.S. city to begin “phasing out natural gas in new buildings.” …
… The push for a natural-gas ban is premised on the idea that we should replace fossil fuels with wind and solar technologies that put us on a path to “net-zero emissions.” Of course, if the goal is to truly “electrify” our national economy we’re not just talking about replacing all existing electricity generation. You’ll need a lot of new electricity for all those new appliances, too. Indeed, experts say “electrification” would increase U.S. electricity consumption by 40 percent.