Berkeley has triggered a chain of anti-gas laws

by Nathanael Johnson, Grist

Generations from now, people might react to the idea of piping gas into houses the same way we now think of burning coal in the fireplace for heat: as a relic of a less-advanced and soot-filled time.

The turning point came earlier this year, when Berkeley, California, became the first city in the country to ban natural-gas in newly constructed buildings in July. Within a few weeks, four other cities in California passed their own rules to encourage buildings to use only electricity, which means no gas for heating or cooking. Two more cities, Menlo Park and Santa Monica, followed suit last week. At least 50 California cities — including the biggies: Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento — are considering similar plans. And the trend has crept out of California, with Seattle and Brookline, Massachusetts mulling their own proposals.

Read more:

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.”

Read more:

US cities see blueprint for building electrification in Berkeley gas ban

by Tom DiChristopher, SP Global

A city ordinance that aims to phase out new natural gas hookups in Berkeley, Calif., offers a blueprint for other cities pursuing building electrification as part of their efforts to combat climate change. But experts cautioned that the Berkeley gas ban cannot simply be carbon-copied in other jurisdictions.

Municipal lawmakers from Massachusetts to Seattle have reached out to Berkeley City Councilwoman Kate Harrison, who spearheaded her community’s ban on gas hookups for new buildings, and sector observers said the legislation could pop up in cities with aggressive climate goals or aging gas infrastructure in need of replacement. Already, dozens of towns and cities in California alone are considering measures that would incentivize home electrification or ban gas in new structures.

Read more: