The evidence is growing: Your gas stove is a menace to the climate, and could very well be harming your health.
A new peer-reviewed study published on Thursday by Stanford University researchers found that as much as 1.3 percent of the gas used in typical U.S. stoves could be leaking into the atmosphere unburned. While that might not sound like a lot, when multiplied across all the households that cook with natural gas in the United States, the researchers estimate that stoves may be contributing the same amount to climate change each year as half a million gasoline-powered cars. And they found that three-quarters of the emissions leak out when the stoves aren’t even turned on.
The natural gas that people use for cooking is primarily composed of methane, a greenhouse gas. When methane is combusted in your oven or on the stovetop, carbon dioxide is released. But when methane leaks out without being burned, it has a much greater short-term warming effect than carbon dioxide. Over the first 20 years that it hangs in the atmosphere, methane is 86 times more powerful at heating up the planet than CO2.