No, the Biden Administration is not really going to ban farts, or three-quarters of the White House might be under investigation, but something serious is afoot – and the absurd nature of it is worth seeing through the lens of farts.
Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), recently enlisted to defend China, now advises we should ban gas stoves.
Yes, gas stoves – in use since the 1920s –produce methane, like cows and humans, but banning them seems a bit “beyond,” something even Orwell never imagined.
According to the EPA, gas stoves produce methane, and may contribute to “asthma, cardiovascular problems, cancer, and other health conditions,” unlike the stress banning them would produce.
EPA cites a study “of 53 homes” in the Journal of Environmental Technology, edited by Berkely and Yale, to support this idea. The study – as a reference for national policy – is a joke. It controls for no dependent variables or outside sources, does not identify stove types or ages, is hardly double-blind.
It draws emission inferences from 53 stoves, and gingerly applies them to 40 percent of the homes in America. Finally, it makes no medical statements whatsoever, just laments climate change.
The only other source for this eye-popping regulatory scheme is the Institute for Policy Integrity, a New York group tied to the Environmental Defense Fund and Union of Concerned Scientists, neither known for entertaining diverse views.
The craziness of this scheme, however – another way to dictate life – comes when average and inquiring minds look around at where most methane comes from.
Half of all methane in the atmosphere comes from animal and human waste, a fifth emitted from breakdown in other organic matter. Cows account for 44 percent, landfills 21 percent, non-dairy livestock 10 percent, wastewater three percent – and get this – oil and gas extraction five percent.
Notably, gas stoves – of any kind, at any age, seem hardly the culprit, while five “surprising sources” of methane in the atmosphere are “hydroelectric dams,” “arctic ice,” “the ocean,” “compost” and “rice farming.” And that data comes from environmentalists.
While “coal mining” produces eight percent of methane, circular reasoning is in play when the government tells us to imagine (sorry “reimagine”) that use of “electric” stoves is somehow cleaner than gas stoves.
Here is why: Just as milk comes from cows – along with those dangerous cow farts – electricity comes from somewhere. Guess where? The power grid. And where does the grid get it? A variety of sources, 80 percent fossil fuels – including coal.
Beyond that 80 percent, the grid gets 10 percent from nuclear, no favorite of the environmentalists, and the rest from eclectic sources, including sun, ocean, and wind.
So, if electric stoves run on fossil fuels, and we aim to replace gas stoves with electric, what is the gain exactly – or is that a net loss for climatic methane? Hmmm.
Then consider reliability. Growing up in Maine, we had a gas stove. Know why? Power went down, and we still had hot food. Same is true for homes with generators – like mine today – which runs on propane if electricity cuts out. With the power grid seeing more brown and blackouts, isn’t gas a good answer?
All this points up the lunacy in deciding, since it is a random day in January, since Biden is president, since we need to do something for the eco-hysterical base, “let’s ban gas stoves!” There is neither logic nor factual support for that choice.
But wait, maybe there is something we could do to lower the level of methane since we are all choking on it – or someone must be. Experts say “the earth’s 1.5 billion cows emit 120 million metric tons per year, responsible for roughly two percent of climate change.” How? Cows eat a lot of grass on the way to milk and steak, leaving things behind, like meadow muffins and farts. No kidding.
Similarly, wild animals – like moose and deer – eat a more variegated, difficult to digest diet, so they produce even more methane than cows. 20 percent more.
But now let’s get to the delicate topic, humans. We actually produce a good deal of this methane ourselves – beyond supplying humanity with energy, food, and throw-away organic waste. “Human wastewater” – together with human waste and farts, freely released around the world – represents 14 to 20 percent of all methane. You see, we have enteric bacteria.
This may sound odd, but if you happen to attend the right conferences, indoor events, or White House meetings; eat the right food at the wrong times, or wrong food anytime, you may find yourself convinced, and this reality easier to believe.
What seems obvious – and apparently is occurring to the Biden White House, as it questions their own EPA regulators’ proposed ban on gas stoves ban, is that the real culprits in this madcap comedy are not gas stoves. They are cows, moose, and humans.
So, where does all this thoughtful, erudite, if not quite polite or aromatic, analysis lead? Where does logic, empirical review, and a dispassionate assessment point us?
If we cannot outlaw “hydroelectric dams,” “arctic ice,” “the ocean,” “compost,” “rice farming,” “cattle” or “dairy” farms or farts – nor the EPA – then we are going to have to do the right thing, and steal ourselves against the inevitable. Biden is going ban cow and human farts. He has to, no other choice – it just stinks.
Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.