Berkeley is banning natural gas appliances in new homes. Will other cities follow?

by Gabrielle Canon, Palm Springs Desert Sun

First went the plastic straws. Then, single-use plastic grocery bags. In Berkeley, Calif., restaurants will soon be required to offer only compostable packaging for patrons, and Styrofoam has been banned in the city since 1988.

Now, the eco-conscious enclave is becoming the first in the nation to take aim at what it calls another threat to the planet: natural-gas stoves, furnaces and water heaters. Under a landmark city ordinance unanimously passed in July, starting next year natural gas hookups won’t be allowed in all new homes and low-rise apartment buildings. Officials in the city east of San Francisco hope this is a step that better positions the town to transition toward a fully-electric future.

“We had a long list of possible policy approaches to dealing with climate,” said Berkeley City Councilmember Kate Harrison. “As we started to examine the areas that produced the most greenhouse gasses, we found that natural gas in buildings was the second-highest use after automobiles.”

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