After 2 months of being part of the CSE team and aiding the different initiatives, as I move forward I have been tasked with writing my first policy brief. The brief will address the use of natural gas in the city of Portland, with the aim of following the Berkeley ban of new natural gas hookups.
On July 16, the city of Berkeley, California became the first in the nation to ban all new natural gas hookups for new construction. This was an ordinance, which means that it will definitely be incorporated and propagated in all new building codes and permits. The ordinance was supported by the public and all municipal representatives despite the persistence of the gas industry in the area and the state of California.
In it’s long-term plans to mitigate and adapt to the reality of Climate Change, the California Energy Commission has encouraged and with the ordinance implements their new standard of having all-electric buildings which includes mid/high-rise and commercial buildings. Therefore, in moving forward and expanding, all new building in the state of California, and more specifically Berkeley will be required to ensure they are all-electric.
All electric buildings make use of efficient electric heat pumps rather than fossil fuel in order to provide electricity for residents and workers. This new approach significantly reduces carbon emissions and also decentralises the reliance of the current electric grid system. Considering the urgency of global warming and the impacts of climate change, this step helps pave the way for the city to becoming decarbonised and sustainable. It has been reported that around 27% of Berkeley’s greenhouse gas emissions are a result of the use of natural gas in buildings, hence this ordinance is a historic landmark in paving the way for the city and also inspiring many others.
Many people consider natural gas a transitional fuel toward cleaner energy, however given the urgency of climate change, governments, states and municipalities should act now and act accordingly. Transitioning is not an option and big changes have to be made in order to adapt.
Fracking- the way in which natural gas is collected, is dangerous and may result in gas leaks, water contamination and is possibly the cause of tremors in some communities.
The policy brief I will be contributing towards, thus aims to adopt the same policy as Berkeley in Portland and prevent natural gas use and hookups in Portland.