No more gas stoves? New York is first state to ban gas in new buildings.

New York is the first state to begin banning natural gas in most new buildings – a move praised as pathbreaking by climate advocates but criticized by opponents as overbearing. 

It’s part of a larger state plan to reach net-zero energy emissions by 2050. Supporters hope other states will join.

Yet, while most Empire State residents agree that lowering greenhouse gas emissions is the right move, gas-range aficionados don’t want to give up their open flame. Critics say this plan will cost struggling consumers too much, could overtax the state’s energy grid, and doesn’t account for the severity of New York’s numbingly cold winters. 

Why We Wrote This

Does responsibility lie in moving quickly to scale down emissions of natural gas, or in being cautious about the effects of energy mandates on consumers and the electric grid?

Natural gas is used widely to generate electricity here and around the country. It burns cleaner than fossil fuels like coal and oil, but can pollute just as much as coal, depending on how much methane leaks from production to delivery. The new law calls for energy-efficient heat pumps instead.

In 2021, slightly more than half of New York’s electricity came from clean sources like nuclear and renewables such wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal pumps, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The state’s goal is 70% emissions-free electricity production by 2030 and 100% by 2040. In addition to helping solve climate change, advocates say boosting green energy will create jobs, improve indoor and outdoor air quality, and lower utility costs.