My gas stove was polluting my home

My gas stove was polluting my home

April 8, 2024

By Viktor Köves

This is one of two public comments by Climate Reality Chicago members offered at the start of the Chicago City Council hearing on the Clean and Affordable Buildings Ordinance (CABO) on April 3. Thirteen people advocated for the passage of CABO. One person spoke against during the public comments.

Good morning, council, my name is Viktor Köves. I’m a 26-year-old lifelong Chicagoan, CPS graduate, renter, and a 40th ward volunteer, focusing on helping neighbors with home electrification. I speak to you today in support of the Clean and Affordable Buildings Ordinance, which I firmly believe ensures that new homes built in Chicago are healthier, more affordable, and greener. I personally worked with my landlord to switch to an electric stove after an air-quality monitor revealed how much my gas stove was polluting my home.

Some alders have supported a resolution calling for a committee to meet on decarbonization and investigate the cost of retrofits before we move forward with these efforts. I want to rebut that CABO specifically impacts only new construction – nobody’s existing home would be at all affected. As Ald. Andre Vasquez has personally seen, and as other alders were invited to see by his team, all electric new construction can be affordable upfront and save homeowners hundreds to thousands of dollars annually in utility bills.

Meanwhile new gas-burning homes will be polluting until they are retrofitted or torn down. Brand new million-dollar homes have gone up in my community that burn dirty natural gas, costing them more money to heat, harming their residents and neighbors through increased incidence of asthma and other respiratory conditions, and harming us all through CO2 emissions and methane leaks that lead to more climate chaos.

Although some alders advocate for more research, the science is clear, and delay is dangerous. We should not be investing more in expensive, hazardous, and outdated natural-gas infrastructure that will need hundreds of millions of dollars to be modernized. Natural gas pollutes our communities and harms our city and country in the long term. CABO is a starting point for us to turn the tide on our fossil-fuel use, giving Chicagoans cleaner air, cheaper utility bills, and a better future. Please pass CABO.

Viktor Köves is on the chapter’s Chicago Policy and Action team. He is a software engineer who is passionate about building electrification, public transit and e-bikes.


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