The Biden administration is apparently looking to ban gas stoves, calling them a “hidden danger”. But while that sounds bad enough, a deeper dive shows – as usual – it’s not really about what they say it’s about.
Talk of banning gas stoves and “unregulated indoor air quality” could be a Trojan horse designed to get even more “smart” monitoring technology into your home.
Let’s jump in.
Are gas stoves dangerous?
Well, according to Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the New Scientist and million other outlets and pundits who started talking about it in the last two days, yes.
Earlier this week near-identical articles from the National Review, Bloomberg and CNN detail how the US Consumer Product Safety Commission will be opening “public comment on the dangers of gas stoves sometime this winter”.
The articles claim:
The emissions have been linked to illness, cardiovascular problems, cancer, and other health conditions. More than 12 percent of current childhood asthma cases are linked to gas stove use, according to peer-reviewed research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health last month.
Now would be a good time to talk about the phrase “linked to”. It’s always a good one to look out for in any mainstream publication. Journalists love it because it implies causation without stating it.
Consider, one hundred per cent of serial killers have been linked to the ingestion of water and the wearing of shoes.
If this manipulative use of language were not evidence enough of an agenda, the rather premature deployment of the race card proves it:
Senator Cory Booker (D., N.J.) and Representative Don Beyer (D., Va.) wrote a letter to the agency last month urging the commission to address the issue and calling the harmful emissions a “cumulative burden” on black, Latino and low-income households.
So, will they ban them?
Actually, probably not.
Considering that, according to Bloomberg, some 40% of US homes use gas stoves to cook, an outright ban would be impractical to the point of madness. You can’t criminalise 40% of the country. It would be almost unenforceable.
Perhaps they might try a “phasing out”, as they plan for petrol cars in California.
But most likely of all is that this was never really about banning stoves in the first place.
OK, so what’s it really about?
What we’re seeing here looks to be your classic bait-and-switch. Having established a “problem”, the powers that be suggest a solution they have no intention of ever carrying out (the more unreasonable the better).
When this measure is inevitably rejected by the public, the government will then proceed to suggest – or pay an NGO to suggest to them – a “compromise” measure.
The compromise is no compromise at all, of course, but actually what they wanted to do from the beginning. Nevertheless, the whole process is sold in the media as a victory for whichever party happens to be in opposition, and cited as evidence that “the system works”.
Tellingly, as I am writing this, Biden has already “ruled out a ban due to backlash”, and Vox were already using the “compromise” a lot in an article they published yesterday.
However, what that “compromise” would be in this case isn’t clear at first, you have to do a little digging.
One clue is present in the National Review article [emphasis added]:
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers argues that cooking produces harmful emissions regardless of the kind of stove used. “Ventilation is really where this discussion should be, rather than banning one particular type of technology,” Jill Notini, a vice president at the association, told Bloomberg. “Banning one type of a cooking appliance is not going to address the concerns about overall indoor air quality. We may need some behavior change, we may need [people] to turn on their hoods when cooking.”
And you’ll find another in the abstract of the original report on “Cooking With Gas, Household Air Pollution, and Asthma: Little Recognized Risk for Children”, published in the Journal of Environmental Science in April 2021:
The impact [of gas stove cooking] on children can be substantial because […] indoor air is unregulated.
“Ventilation is where this discussion should be”, after all “cooking produces harmful emissions regardless of the kind of stove” and a ban wouldn’t address “concerns about overall indoor air quality” which is currently “unregulated”.
Do you see where this is going?
It’s not about gas stoves, and it’s not about asthma – it’s about “indoor air pollution”, and more importantly how they plan on “regulating” it.
In one of those startling coincidences we’ve all got so used to witnessing in modern geopolitics, just as the US is talking about indoor air quality because of gas stoves, other countries around the world are doing the same thing for totally different reasons.
Singapore is considering new regulations on indoor air quality too, but because of formaldahyde.
Last month The Conversation was running articles claiming “indoor air pollution kills”, while Sir Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical officer, was “demanding action on indoor air pollution”.
On Monday, in a Guardian lifestyle piece purportedly about scented candles, Svetlana Stevanovic calls indoor air quality a “going concern”.
Two days ago The Tyee, an “independent” Canadian magazine which receives some funding from the Canadian government, ran an op-ed headlined:
We Need a Revolution in Clean Indoor Air
Which attempts to link improving indoor air quality to “ending Covid” (whilst making sure to sufficiently fluff the vaccines, of course).
Just yesterday the Irish Times published an article about the dangers of poor indoor air quality.
In a rather interesting piece of timing, the air hygiene technology company AeroClean and Molekule, a market leader for air purifiers, finalised a public stock merger…also just yesterday.
Two days ago it was announced IKEA would be selling their own smart air monitors, the same day Samsung announced their new “smart air purifier”.
Earlier today Chinese tech giant Xiaomi issued a media release about their new smart air monitoring technology.
A recent report expects the global air monitor technology market to swell to nearly 6 billion dollars in the next three years.
But I’m sure this is all just a coincidence.
Where does this lead?
Well, if I had to guess I would suggest some new “smart” technology is coming that will monitor air quality and indoor C02 emissions. Like smart electricity and water meters, but for your air.
Interestingly, the World Economic Forum agrees with me, publishing an article on their website last July headlined “Indoor air pollution: What causes it and how to tackle it”, which claims:
indoor air pollutants can now be detected with more precise, efficient, and compact sensors thanks to advances in environmental sensing technology. As a result, intelligent home systems may soon use sensors like these to keep track of indoor air quality and notify the ventilation system before dangerous levels are reached.
As part of “backing down” from the stove ban, they will introduce a new bill which sees “smart air monitors” become mandatory in all new-build houses, hotels and rented accommodation.
Just like smart electricity meters, smart air monitors would almost certainly be used to harvest huge amounts of data and give states or corporations the ability to control your home.
If your “indoor air” isn’t “clean” enough; if you use your stove too much, burn too many scented candles or emit too much co2, expect to get penalized in some fashion until you learn how to be more responsible.
More smart technology, more monitoring, and ultimately more control.
So, while it’s possible the gas stove ban talk will resolve itself into the cliche new tax or fines or some other petty scheme for bilking the many out of their wages, the signs are certainly there it might be something more sinister.
Meanwhile, expect to keep seeing reports on gas stoves damaging the climate, or stories about poor indoor air quality making covid worse.
The usual bought-and-paid-for columns that support every new normal narrative.
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