News“Cooking with gas” should not be a cause for concern

“Cooking with gas” should not be a cause for concern

Gas is generating an awful lot of heat right now - and not just in your own home and hearth. We’re being asked to decide if it’s a dangerous fossil fuel or the key to our transition to a cleaner energy future.

This volatile debate is hardly going to be resolved anytime soon, so in the meantime how should we feel about using natural gas in the home?

I value the gas we use responsibly for heating and cooking in our home and while its price has increased of late, we have no plans to disconnect yet.

But should those people who express doubt and dismay about natural gas, and may well live in the 5 million gas-connected homes, consider pulling the plug (or rather the pipe)?

The question arises as the federal government is pushing an all-out gas-led recovery and some within Labor argue we should ditch domestic gas appliances altogether in favour of green-electricity options.

All sides claim their arguments are based on the ‘science’ but it does depend whose science you happen to believe or support.

The many contested areas include:

  • the environmental, with the effects of developing reserves on farm land,
  • the atmospheric, in terms of the fugitive emissions of methane and
  • the economic, with doubts cast about the whole financial viability of gas.

We as mere consumers are hardly expert in these fields and we need to rely on the ‘professionalism’ or expertise of others who have, or may claim, authority in their area.

So the support for the gas transition from the Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, who says it emits half the carbon dioxide of coal and has other benefits, is good enough for me.

But some other scientists in Australia disagree and have pressured for a retreat from the policy.

I believe even consumers who might be ‘amateurs’ in this market still have a voice worth hearing. Some will be against the gas push but presumably a good number will either be in favour or don’t know.

It’s necessary to be open about the FiftyUp Club being involved in providing you with energy market offers, which can include gas, and I have worked with campaigns to raise awareness about the benefits of using natural gas as a transitional energy source.

But I doubt many consumers are aware of actions which may reduce their access to gas. There are plans, the most advanced being in the ACT, to no longer make it mandatory to connect new dwellings to a gas supply.

In Victoria, the Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN), is calling on us to junk gas heaters and stoves and switch to energy-efficient electric appliances instead. They claim this is a win for the environment and the householder, but the sums as ever are disputed.

The opposition seems split, with Joel Fitzgibbon the agriculture and resources spokesman warning: “Labor needs to be mindful not the let the perfect get in the way of the possible.”

To my mind it’s a good enough principle for all of us. If I was dead set against gas on principle I would seriously consider disconnecting. 

But as I believe it has a legitimate role in the transition and remains a legal market, I shall boil my daily egg under its flame (photographic evidence provided above). 

Should you believe otherwise, there are other options from the microwave to the induction stove top. Thankfully we have a choice until the time, if it may ever come, when they turn the gas off.

(PS - After writing this blog federal energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor unveiled four core principles for achieving global cuts to damaging emissions at the National Press Club on Tuesday Sept 22. Number three on his list was respect for consumer choice.)


Any information general advice, it does not take into account your individual circumstances, objectives, financial situation or needs.

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“Cooking with gas” should not be a cause for concern

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Davies from NSW commented:

I don't buy into this climate change nonsense all for .04% of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere . Long live gas and coal and if we are so worried about carbon dioxide emissions in which i am not how about a few nuclear power plants Regards 

Anonymous from ACT commented:

I'm a Chris also (ACT). Unimpressed at the way gas prices have spiked, and a function of the usual "lets sell our resources to offshore and what is left on local market will be sold to us at a premium price". My wife's view on gas - she'll never want it gone from the kitchen in favour of electric cooktop - as there is no substitute that works as well as gas for asian-style cooking (eg, a wok). We also have solar on roof (though nowhere near as much as David from Sydney with 17kW of panels (didnt think any jurisdiction allowed this - unless off-grid). There's no point in using your electricity for cooking/heating if you're not actually using your own PV-generated power (which you wont be during even meal preparation / night-time shower, so gas is still a great option). Unless of course you have batteries. Here, false economy... Upfront costs, disposal costs ($ and to the environment), and battery life is nowhere near the panels providing you the PV. The answer to our energy requirements and costs is to not leave us in the position of having to buy back from O/S (read China etc) and maintain a balanced approach. ALL options should be in the mix IMHO. 

Anonymous from VIC commented:

Christopher, I am very concerned that Energy Australia is largely Chinese, Hong Kong owned?? Please advise me. Thanks, Joan 

Roger from QLD commented:

Re "Renewable Energy". I have read recently re emission figures of Manufacture of Solar Panels and Wind Turbines- the huge ones - by far outway emissions to be saved by using these units over fossil fuels. The Scientists seem to come up with an equalizing figure of some 40 yrs for solar panels, and 60 years for wind turbines. Both Solar panels and Wind turbines have effective lives of 20 years. That means that we will only save approx 30-40% of emissions generated in the Manufacture of these panels and wind turbines. I guess this is not a problem though, as the emissions are not produced in Australia, but overseas ( read China). 

Anonymous from VIC replied to Roger:

Hi Roger, when I’ve search on solar panel specification they guarantee the panels for a minimum of 20 years to still be functioning at 80%. We know of some Telstra panel (used to be Telecom Australia) still working from the 1990. And after three years the panels are considered carbon neutral from the amount of Green power generated to pay back for their manufacture. You can also buy Australian and German panels too. 

Anonymous from NSW commented:

Greg from NSW commented Hi Chris, It would seem that the people objecting to gas and spruiking renewables, wind and solar, are unaware of the type of energy used to produce these "clean items". Take away coal, mining, and heavy engineering and you no longer have Wind Turbines, Solar Panels, Electric Cars, Lithium Batteries, Household Appliances, Concrete, Steel for buildings, Transmission Towers and many of the normal household requirements, and the list goes on. It would seem that the average person in the street has been "blind sided" by the "renewable science", unaware of the true situation. I am not denying that renewables have a place, but at this stage have not got to a position of being able to replace traditional forms of energy, used in major manufacturing industries. I use gas at home to heat our hot water. Kind Regards, Greg. Sydney. 

Anonymous from QLD commented:

We have natural gas, coal and uranium, lets use them to make our country strong with cheap energy and strong industries so that we are not at the mercy of countries that will invest in our minerals and use them to make their country strong at the cost of ours. 

Anonymous from QLD commented:

The climate change farce is the biggest hoax in history, The effect of CO2 on climate is negligible, and historical data shows many periods of temperature drop with CO2 rise. CO2 does not drive climate, and climate change has been real for billions of years before the climate liars hijacked the term. See 

David from NSW commented:

Hi Chris I agree that gas should be a part of a reliable energy mix as should the cheapest and now very safe nuclear source. However, I digress. The problem with all of the energy sources is how they are used and getting the best value out of them, I notice in your proudly attached photo, that you are using quite an appropriately sized saucepan for your egg however you are likely using the largest burner on your stove and I would say approx 70-90% of the gas you are using is being wasted by escaping up the outside of the pot. Using a smaller burner may take slightly longer to heat the pot however a lot more of the gas will be directed to the base of the pot and be more effective, while using a lot less gas. I use gas as a mixture in my home for cooking heating and hot water. I also have 17kW or solar panels on my roof and the power generation well and truly cover the gas expenditure and leaves an excess (income) of approx $1500 a year. Plus, this is in excess of what I am not paying for electricity. Kind regards David. Sydney 

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