Say it ain’t dough: Are pizza ovens the next battleground in climate debate?

Pizza ovens? They’re coming for pizza ovens?

What in the name of Santillo’s, Razza, Star Tavern, Coniglio (or your hometown favorite) is going on here?

To be clear, no one really is sure.

But after a pizza protest broke in New York City on Tuesday — complete with calls of “Give Me Pizza, or Give Me Death” (well played) — it certainly seems to be the climate talker of the week.

More than reports that offshore wind energy is going to cost a lot more than predicted (worth keeping an eye on).

More than congestion pricing in NYC (perhaps “You pay more but you get more” only is a good talking point when the revenues go into the New Jersey Treasury).

We can’t speak to what is going in New York City — only to say there may have been as many people debunking the oven idea as protesting.

And we can’t speak to what’s going in Washington, D.C. — where some feel the feds may step in.

We can only speak to the Governor’s Office in New Jersey. And they’re saying … well, nothing on the record.


Sources within the Governor’s Office told ROI-NJ that Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has “no plans” to eliminate pizza ovens in New Jersey.

That background talk was not nearly as strong as when the governor was asked in February whether his administration was all in on electrification.

“No one is coming for anyone’s gas stove,” Murphy said then. “No one is walking into anyone’s kitchen. No one is going to be forced to do anything in any way. That is the bottom line.”

Eric DeGesero, a spokesperson for both the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey and the New Jersey Propane Gas Association, was more than willing to go on record. Always is.

And, let’s prep his statements by saying this: While DeGesero is a veritable quote-machine for journalists — his always-good thoughts always appear to be backed by solid reasoning.

In fact, let it be known that DeGesero praised Murphy after his “no one is coming for anyone’s gas stove” comments — and said there could be a path forward on electrification. (Read it here.)

There’s no such wiggle room when it comes to pizza.

“While the public is rightfully outraged that New York City is cracking down on pizza joints, they should know that New Jersey Gov. Murphy isn’t too far behind on banning any stove that isn’t electric,” he said. “Under Gov. Murphy’s latest BPU regulations, New Jerseyans will say goodbye to pizza ovens, gas stoves, gas heat, all furnaces and boilers, generators and even their gas cars.”

Hyperbole? Perhaps.

But DeGesero said the NJBPU’s building decarbonization proposal (which had its public comment period come to an end Tuesday) seems to suggest the days of brick-oven pizza could be numbered.

DeGesero feels that, by going through New Jersey Board of Public Utilities action, Murphy is bypassing the state Legislature by morphing a requirement that utilities reduce their customers’ natural gas and electric consumption into an “electrify everything” requirement — at an extraordinary cost to New Jersey homeowners, businesses and renters.

Who benefits in all of this isn’t clear (aside from, potentially, the environment).

Such a mandate against pizza ovens would be a crushing blow to foodies and unabashed New Jersey cheerleaders — as it seemingly would take the state out of the “best pizza in the country” contests so many so desperately crave to win. (And there’s no bigger cheerleader on that than the governor.)

That’s why the biggest winner may just be Connecticut.

At least, that’s the take of DeGesero, who already appeared to have Mystic Pizza on his GPS while he teed up one last one-liner.

“Garden State residents will have to drive to Connecticut to get a decent slice of pizza, because we all know Pennsylvania pizza is basically inedible,” he said.

And, just like that, we’ve moved from picking a fight about pizza to picking a fight with Pennsylvania.