$1 Million Climate Ad Comes For Gas Stoves


“I did not come here to make friends,” the reality TV star says. “I came here to cause chest pain, nausea and vomiting.”

She redefines how a dating show contestant can be tasteless ― and odorless. Her name is Carbon Monoxide.

“But you can call me C. Mo,” she introduces herself in a Bravo-style title card. “As in see mo’ life-threatening health problems.”

She’s just one of the noxious cast members on “Hot and Toxic,” a fictional parody invented as part of a new environmental campaign against using natural gas for cooking and heating.

The setup is darkly funny. An unsuspecting homeowner moves into the house of her dreams, only to discover the place comes with an intolerable group of unexpected roommates whose astrological signs match the pathological outcome of being around them for too long.

“I don’t know, bro,” laments the guitar-strumming jock named after the chemical Benzene. “I guess it’s because I’m a Cancer and I… also cause it.”

Another cast member interjects. “Shut up!” she says. “My sign is Cancer.” Amid a collective epiphany, the group says in unison: “We’re all Cancer!”

It’s the latest advertisement from the advocacy group Gas Leaks, which makes creative videos aimed at promoting the shift away from fossil fuels. Gas Leaks first shared the new video with HuffPost.

The organization ― which receives funding from the billionaire Rockefellers, whose philanthropies funnel millions from the family’s 19th century oil fortune into nonprofits calling for the phase out of fossil fuels ― made a splash in October with an ad depicting gas appliances as Halloween horror movie monsters.

Now Gas Leaks says it will spend $1 million to promote the video in markets like California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York, where more than half of households use gas for cooking.

″$1 million is a lot for the climate movement, but it’s pennies for the fossil fuel industry,” said James Hadgis, a filmmaker and Gas Leaks’ executive director.

“Right now people are overwhelmed by information, there’s so much misinformation and disinformation,” he added. “We thought leaning into comedy is a way to both make people laugh and reveal truth, and send people the message that there’s nothing ‘natural’ about natural gas.”

The natural gas that burns blue on stovetops emits tiny particles of nitrogen dioxide, which irritates the respiratory system, and contributes to asthma and cancer-causing pollutants such as benzene.

Benzene and Carbon Monoxide make out against a gas stove in the fictional reality TV show, “Hot and Toxic.”

While Consumer Reports found that ventilation helps, reviewers concluded the best way to minimize exposure to dangerous pollutants was to switch to an electric stove. Nearly 70% of American homes already use electric appliances for cooking, federal statistics show. But less than 5% of electric ranges sold in the U.S. use the induction technology touted by chefs as preferable to gas.

Cooking with gas generates roughly 0.1% of total U.S. emissions each year, according to an analysis of federal data by the University of California, Davis.

But gas stoves leak roughly 1% of the gas they use as unburned methane, a powerful heat-trapping gas. At this rate, yearly leaks from all natural gas stoves in the U.S. take an equivalent toll on the climate as the annual carbon dioxide emissions from 500,000 passenger vehicles, according to a recent peer-reviewed study from researchers at Stanford University and the laboratory PSE Healthy Energy. Gas used for heating, meanwhile, generates between six and 16 times as much planet-heating pollution, and the same pipeline network that feeds furnaces supplies stovetops.

Advocates looking for ways to make slashing planet-heating emissions a more visceral concern have played up gas appliances’ toxic air pollutants as a way to increase public support for regulations restricting fossil fuel use.

Following the launch of the Halloween-themed ad in October and this latest video, Gas Leaks aims to release another viral-worthy clip in April, with plans to publish at least a handful more before the end of the year.

“We hope that people will take away a little more education and methane literacy,” Hadgis said. “Nitrogen, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde ― by bringing them to life, we hope that this will stay with people and help them retain what’s actually toxic about gas in your home.”