Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Homes and businesses which currently use gas will be allowed to continue, for now. Some businesses may receive an exemption.
Berkeley became first US city to ban natural gas. Here’s what that may mean for the future
Susie Cagle in Oakland
Wed 24 Jul 2019 04.34 BST
The California city on Tuesday voted to ban natural gas hook-ups in new buildings, in a historic move
Berkeley this week became the first city in the United States to ban natural, fossil gas hook-ups in new buildings.
The landmark ordinance was passed into law on Tuesday, after being approved unanimously by the city council the previous week amid resounding public support.
Although Berkeley may be pushing the vanguard, the city is hardly alone. Governments across the US and Europe are looking at strategies to phase out gas. In California alone, dozens of cities and counties are considering eliminating fossil fuel hook-ups to power stoves and heat homes in new buildings, while California state agencies pencil out new rules and regulations that would slash emissions.
Natural gas, it seems, has become the new climate crisis frontline.
Berkeley’s ordinance, which goes into effect on 1 January, will ban gas hook-ups in new multi-family construction, with some allowances for first-floor retail and certain types of large structures.
“The Southern California Gas Company is just not coming to the table on this,” said Bartholomy. “They aren’t providing any vision to meet our climate targets.”
…Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/23/berkeley-natural-gas-ban-environment
The ordinance contains some rather intriguing claims, talking about the alleged toxicity of indoor cookers, stranded assets, and a claim that natural gas is useless during an electricity outage because modern gas appliances need electricity.
The report claims that gas is a serious hazard in an earthquake. That seems plausible, though I’m not an expert on earthquake damage – fallen power lines are also a potential hazard.
The ordinance includes a very well paid staff position to enforce the new ordinance, $237,341 per year for two years. Interestingly it looks like the two year term of the new position was a late amendment, an earlier draft suggested the new position is a permanent position.
Perhaps Berkeley are planning for the possibility of failure.