The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Cities Are Banning Natural Gas in Homes to Fight Climate Crisis
Cities around the country are considering following the lead of Berkeley, California, which became the first city to ban the installation of natural gas lines in new homes this summer.
That means that stoves, heating systems and clothes dryers need another source of energy, which will ideally come from renewable sources as the technology and efficiency continues to improve. Now San Francisco is following suit along with 12 other California cities and Marin County in California, including San Jose, Santa Monica, San Luis Obispo, Palo Alto, and Mountainview, according to Sierra Club.
The idea is not to create new hookups that will be grandfathered into an older infrastructure as the country moves toward carbon-neutral energy sources, according to USA Today.
"We need to tackle climate change every way that we can and by doing this, we're not asking people to change that much," said Berkeley City Council member Kate Harrison who led the initiative, according to KQED.
"It's going to give us a better life," added Harrison. "We're going to have a cleaner environment. We're going to have less health problems. We're going to have less danger in our homes."
Major American cities, including Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Albuquerque are considering similar ordinances to discourage the use of natural gas. Cities in Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington are also considering an all-electric requirement, according to Sierra Club, as The Weather Channel reported.
Natural gas contributes greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere and it accounts for one-third of the nation's CO2 emissions from electricity generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as USA Today reported.
"There's no pathway to stabilizing the climate without phasing gas out of our homes and buildings. This is a must-do for the climate and a livable planet," said Rachel Golden of the Sierra Club's building electrification campaign, as USA Today reported.
In Brookline, MA, a suburb of Boston, the town is considering banning new gas pipelines and infrastructure. The proposal, which could cut the town's greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent over the next 30 years, will be voted on next week, according to The Weather Channel.
"The most practical and cost effective way to achieve that goal is not to install new fossil fuel systems when we're building new buildings and when we are gut-renovating them," said Jesse Gray, a town board member in Brookline, as WBUR reported.
One of the benefits of banning gas on new constructions is it reduces any inconvenience for town constituents and simply changes the power supply of future homes.
"This is really only affecting fossil fuel infrastructure installation when it's very convenient and practical to chose alternative options that are better for the climate," said Gray to WBUR.
"Every house, every high-rise that's built with gas, may be in place for decades. We're establishing infrastructure that may be in place for 50 years," said Robert Jackson, a professor of energy and the environment at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California to USA Today.
- New York Regulators Block Controversial Natural Gas Pipeline ... ›
- Fatal Natural Gas Explosion Rocks Durham, NC - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Nestlé cannot claim that its Ice Mountain bottled water brand is an essential public service, according to Michigan's second highest court, which delivered a legal blow to the food and beverage giant in a unanimous decision.
A number of supermarkets across the country have voluntarily issued a recall on sushi, salads and spring rolls distributed by Fuji Food Products due to a possible listeria contamination, as CBS News reported.
If you read a lot of news about the climate crisis, you probably have encountered lots of numbers: We can save hundreds of millions of people from poverty by 2050 by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but policies currently in place put us on track for a more than three degree increase; sea levels could rise three feet by 2100 if emissions aren't reduced.
Poverty and violence in Central America are major factors driving migration to the United States. But there's another force that's often overlooked: climate change.
Retired Lt. Cmdr. Oliver Leighton Barrett is with the Center for Climate and Security. He says that in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, crime and poor economic conditions have long led to instability.
"And when you combine that with protracted drought," he says, "it's just a stressor that makes everything worse."
Barrett says that with crops failing, many people have fled their homes.
"These folks are leaving not because they're opportunists," he says, "but because they are in survival mode. You have people that are legitimate refugees."
So Barrett supports allocating foreign aid to programs that help people in drought-ridden areas adapt to climate change.
"There are nonprofits that are operating in those countries that have great ideas in terms of teaching farmers to use the land better, to harvest water better, to use different variety of crops that are more resilient to drought conditions," he says. "Those are the kinds of programs I think are needed."
So he says the best way to reduce the number of climate change migrants is to help people thrive in their home countries.
Reporting credit: Deborah Jian Lee / ChavoBart Digital Media.
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
- Trump Admin Ignored Its Own Data Linking Migrant Crisis to Climate ... ›
- How Climate Change Is Driving Emigration From Central America ... ›
Chris Pratt was called out on social media by Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa after Pratt posted an image "low key flexing" with a single-use plastic water bottle.