Berkeley Ordinance Bans Natural Gas in All New Homes

‘When we think about pollution and climate-change issues, we tend to think about factories and cars, but all buildings are producing greenhouse gas…’

Berkeley, Calif. Bans Natural Gas in All New Homes In Attempt to Save the Environment

Berkeley, Calif. / PHOTO: Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines

(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Far-left Berkeley, Calif., voted last week to ban the installation of natural gas lines in recently-constructed homes—an apparent attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make the city a more environmentally-friendly place.

The natural gas ordinance requires all new single-family homes, town homes and small apartment buildings to use electric infrastructure instead of natural gas.

“It’s an enormous issue,” Councilwoman Kate Harrison, who introduced the ordinance, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We need to really tackle this. When we think about pollution and climate-change issues, we tend to think about factories and cars, but all buildings are producing greenhouse gas.”

The ordinance also creates a new job in the city’s Department of Planning and Development. The chosen employee will be the enforcement czar responsible for the logistics and implementation of the ban, and will be paid a $273,341 salary for a two-year staff position.

.

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín said the ordinance is an important step forward that makes the city an innovative example of how practical environmental reform should be done.

“I’m really proud to be on this City Council to adopt this groundbreaking ordinance. … We know that the climate crisis is deepening and is having cataclysmic impacts,” he said at the meeting.

“Warmer temperatures and the year-round fire season … the melting of the polar ice caps, growing sea level rise, all these conditions prove that we are in real trouble and that we have to take bold action now.”

California Energy Commission Chairman David Hochschild agreed: “That is how change happens,” Hochschild said at the meeting. “Right now, in California, we have a big focus on cleaning up the building sector because there are more emissions coming from combustion natural gas in our buildings than our entire state power plant fleet.”

This isn’t the first time Berkeley has put the environment at the top of its agenda. In 2009, the city adopted a Climate Action Plan that aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33% by 2020, and 80% by 2050.

The plan also aims to move the city to 100% renewable electricity by 2035.

The new ordinance could affect the city’s housing prices, especially since Berkeley is experiencing a housing shortage as the city’s population soars.

The announcement came on the heels of another city ordinance last week that caught national attention, requiring that words such as “manhole,” “policeman” and “pregnant woman” be replaced by gender-neutral terms.