A word from the president

What is the place of gas in society?

Reflection following the task force organized by the HPBAC

By Jean-François Fauteux, Coval’s president

| October 27, 2023

I would like to share with you some important information that emerged at the HPBAC (Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada) Canadian Gas Hearth Stakeholder Task Force meeting, which took place this early October in British Columbia. The issue is that cities like Montreal in Quebec will ban gas in new constructions and several other cities have similar projects. All this worries us. Like you, we wonder how to act responsibly in the face of environmental and energy issues. What are the solutions and consequences for our future?

The task force meeting was exactly about that. HPBAC formed a panel composed of people from different backgrounds, ranging from manufacturers to distributors. I had the honour of attending this meeting as a representative of the specialized dealers of the APC (Association des professionnels du chauffage) in order to comment on the reality of Quebec. We had the opportunity to ask gas stakeholders to tell us about their plan to get through this situation. Moreover, a lobbying firm is helping the HPBAC to develop an adequate response and strategies, in line with the vision that the industry will adopt at the end of these consultations.

If the process is done right, there is a great opportunity here for specialty retailers. Many dealers have expressed their concerns to me and are trying to understand what is happening. Is their business in danger? How should they adapt to what is coming? That’s why I’m going to share with you what we learned in this meeting and what it means for all of us.

Why cities and states are making bans?

This crisis is unlike any other. As climate change related disasters occur around the world, the United Nations (UN) created the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) to provide decision-makers with relevant scientific information that is intended to be neutral on the political plan. 195 countries are participating in these efforts. In 2023, they published their latest report, based on the analysis of several thousand global scientific studies on climate change, and they made numerous recommendations to help us get through the crisis through government regulation.

As a result, the situation is bad. Climate change has already impacted water scarcity and food production, health and well-being, cities, infrastructure and ecosystem structure. I could cite many Canadian examples, but that is not the purpose of this article. The takeaway here is that when 195 countries agree that we need to do something about this, the countries that don’t do their part will suffer the economic consequences. Canada believes that it must also do its part and it will not change its mind. Our government has therefore implemented several measures, such as a carbon tax, to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the UNEP, the world needs to increase current climate investment by 3 to 6 times. No wonder environmentalists are putting pressure on all levels of government to do more. This is why plans to ban gas are on the radar, and already almost everywhere in North America. Some people say the Canadian government is too aggressive with its timetable for reaching carbon neutrality. However, the science shows that we are not, in fact, we are behind.

UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) “found that financing and implementation of adaptation actions are inadequate. US$160 billion to US$340 billion will be needed per year for adaptation by 2030. In 2020, international adaptation finance flows to developing countries were only US$29 billion.” [1]

  • The pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will not go away.
  • Cities are responding to this pressure to do more. Some out of conviction, others out of greenwashing and political gain. Expect more cities to announce gas bans.
  • Gas is poorly understood by cities and governments. Gas can play an important role in helping us reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A unilateral ban is considered a mistake, but the industry may have to agree to stop selling recreational decorative gas appliances. If we wait for the government to stop us, we risk facing collateral damage that we don’t want.

N.B. Please note that these comments are not the official position of the HPBAC or the APC, but a summary of the information transmitted during the meeting and, therefore, my interpretation, in a Quebec context, of said information.


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What is the place of gas in society? – Part 3

In fact, natural gas is one of the most efficient sources of energy we have. With our electricity supply limited, natural gas remains the best alternative for many applications. But natural gas, until we include a lot more RNG, increases the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. So when there is an alternative, we should consider it.