Study: Gas stoves worse for climate than previously thought
Gas stoves are contributing more to global warming than previously thought because of constant tiny methane leaks while they’re off, a new study found.
The same study that tested emissions around stoves in homes raised new concerns about indoor air quality and health because of levels of nitrogen oxides measured.
Even when they are not running, U.S. gas stoves are putting 2.6 million tons (2.4 million metric tons) of methane — in carbon dioxide equivalent units — into the air each year, a team of California researchers found in a study published in Thursday’s journal Environmental Science & Technology. That’s equivalent to the annual amount of greenhouse gases from 500,000 cars or what the United States puts into the air every three-and-a-half hours.
“They’re constantly bleeding a little bit of methane into the atmosphere all the time,” said the study's co-author Rob Jackson, a Stanford University climate scientist.
That methane is on top of the 6.8 million tons (6.2 million metric tons) of carbon dioxide that gas stoves emit into the air when they are in use and the gas is burned, the study said. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is dozens of times more potent than carbon dioxide but doesn’t stay in the atmosphere nearly as long and isn’t as plentiful in the air.
The researchers examined 53 home kitchens in California — many in bed and breakfasts they rented. They sealed most of the rooms in plastic tarps and then measured emissions when the stoves were working and when they were not. And what was surprising was that three-quarters of the methane released happened while the stoves were off, Jackson said. Those are emissions releases that the government doesn’t account for, he said.
“That’s a big deal because we’re trying to really reduce our carbon footprint and...