THE CLIMATE COUNCIL has partnered with founder of the I Quit Sugar movement Sarah Wilson to launch a new campaign sounding the alarm about the health dangers of gas in our homes.
The I Quit Gas campaign is calling on state and territory governments to help Australians say goodbye to toxic gas for good with interest free loans for switching to all-electric home appliances.
It comes as a new national poll of 1,126 Australians, commissioned by the Climate Council, shows 90% of Australians are well aware of the health dangers of tobacco and asbestos, yet only 32% are aware that gas in the home is a significant health hazard.
“I founded I Quit Sugar a decade ago to help people live healthier by cutting processed sugar out of their lives at a time when there was a pretty low level of public awareness of the links between sugar and chronic diseases. Now, I’m taking on gas, another dangerous substance lurking in Aussie homes,” I Quit Sugar founder Sarah Wilson said.
“The evidence is clear and mounting that gas stoves and heaters leak toxic gases including nitrogen dioxide into our homes, which has been linked to asthma in children.
“Unfortunately, public awareness about the ticking time bombs in our homes is unacceptably low. Just like big tobacco and big sugar have gone to great lengths to downplay the dangers of their products, the gas industry has spent millions trying to falsely market gas as ‘natural’, when it is in fact toxic and dangerous.
“As well as the health risk, gas is a fossil fuel that is rapidly worsening climate change. It has no place in our kitchens and homes, and we should be kicking gas out and moving to all-electric options for cooking, heating and hot water as fast as possible.
“I am a renter myself, so I am totally aware that this is easier said than done. I have very recently bought myself a cheap portable induction cooktop. And in the meantime, I’ll work hard to lobby governments to help all Australians, no matter your income or housing situation, to get off gas. Interest free loans are a great solution and will also incentivise landlords to swap gas appliances to electric ones,” said Ms Wilson.
The Climate Council and Essential Research’s national poll of 1,126 Australians shows:
There is low awareness about the dangers of gas. While almost everyone knows breathing in asbestos (92%) and smoking tobacco (90%) are extremely hazardous to health, only 32% of respondents see burning gas in the home for cooking or heating as harmful. Many participants (60%) were ambivalent and viewed burning gas in the home as benign.
There is low knowledge about the role of gas in accelerating dangerous climate change: 41% know gas is a fossil fuel but think that it is less harmful than coal and oil and just 20% think it is a major driver of climate change. Worryingly, one in five (19%) of respondents think gas is a form of clean energy and a climate solution.
There is extremely low awareness about the impact of gas on electricity prices. Only one in 10 (13%) of respondents know that the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission says the increase to the cost of gas is a major driver of Australia’s high electricity prices.
Dr Jennifer Rayner, Head of Advocacy, Climate Council, added: “Gas is a key culprit behind the sky-high energy prices that are fuelling Australia’s cost of living crisis.
“Policies to help households move from gas-fired to electric-powered appliances will unlock bill savings, while transitioning our national electricity grid from gas to 100% renewable energy prices will send wholesale energy prices plummeting.
“State and Federal governments can help Australians weather the cost of living crisis. Providing zero interest loans for them to switch to all-electric appliances, banning the practice of connecting new homes to gas, and rapidly scaling up the roll-out of large scale renewable energy and storage in our grid are all win-win solutions for our health, hip-pockets, and the climate.”
The I Quit Gas campaign can be accessed here: https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/i-quit-gas/