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Berkeley, California Makes 'Incredible Leap' Away From Fossil Fuels With Natural Gas Ban in New Buildings

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/24/berkeley-california-makes-incredible-leap-away-fossil-fuels-natural-gas-ban-new

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Nice going Berkeley, now follow it up with more protection for you’re citizens, ban appliances that “talk” to the system, without the buyers consent.

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Hell, while they’re at it, ban all propane gas tanks too.

Have a free bag of weed exchange program for every propane tank or device that needs it.

No?

Since it is sunny California, why not solar paneled roofs as well?

If they are really serious instead of virtue-signalling, they would ban all new parking garages and mandate that no new construction is allowed except on transit routes with service no less frequent than 15 minutes. Reign-in Uber and Lyft too…

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Absolutely. I’ve spoken about this before, but California is trying to adopt new metrics for traffic impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In short, highway projects that increase vehicle miles traveled will have to be mitigated. Basically project sponsors will have to invest in traffic reducing infrastructure, like regional transit, when considering capacity and congestion relief projects. At the same time, the state is trying to do something about restrictive local zoning to encourage compact development (the two strategies need to go together to be most effective).

It has turned out that lots of very progressive people don’t like these things affecting them, though they are all on board with high-minded, shiny object, progressive media promoted things that affect others and wouldn’t have nearly the GHG reduction impacts, like banning fracking. I’ve come to doubt certain tenants of progressivism lately and don’t see it as that different than what I hear from wing-nut family members as a result. Convinced of righteousness, want zero sacrifice, easily led by the latest “true” progressive headline, eschewing inconvenient science while in-the-know.

EMERGENCY = IMMEDIATE RESPONSE

This is good, but not quite it –

Every community has to begin to fight the power of monopolies which
are increasing the power lines on our neighborhood streets – and the
huge grids covering more and more of our open spaces.
These are all above ground to save utilities money –
Utility poles are going from 29’ to 69’ – with addition of another layer of wires.

Meanwhile, every ROOFTOP in every city – in every town – in every neighborhood
is an opportunity for SOLAR energy.

Yours and @KC2669’s aguuments on this are kind of like what aboutism. As a society we can walk and chew gum at the same time. A decision to push deployment of induction stoves, heat pumps, and the best electric dryers (and ideally some space for hanging clothes) and electric water heaters by banning natural gas hookups lives or dies on its own merits. What we do about transportation is not connected to this decision one bit that I can see. If I’m missing a connection, fill me in. Otherwise you two are just sour grapes on this.

I think it is a great idea myself. I chose to live in an area where most have propane furnaces. I can’t afford to replace everything in order to drop propane but I’m definitely eyeing heat pumps to replace the furnace since mine is quite old and in most parts of California, heat pumps are now the right answer (really cold climates are a different story).

I don’t have a problem with it per se. But given these very same comment boards regularly excoriate Obama as a corporate sellout over “small” measures (actually very important) like expanding renewable energy tax credits and Democrats over policies like cap and trade that are working great here in California ($8 billion in renewable investments due to the credit system), I think it’s a more than fair comment. After all, reducing automobile transportation is the actual hard stuff we need to do to make a difference. Here in California, transportation is why the state is projected not to reach its climate goals, household energy output is on track to continue to improve (new solar roof mandate).

So sure, Berkley is taking a very small step to do something good. It will also keep some contractors working too. I have no problem with it. But let’s be consistent about these “small” measures as progressives and what they actually achieve and stop telling people stupid stuff that policies like cap and trade, that do work, particularly if configured correctly, are corporate sellout policies and only true progressives care the planet is going to burn up tomorrow unless amorphous exciting shiny object “X” policy is undertaken immediately. There are lots of important “small” policies being undertaken, like zoning for easier infill development, after all.

It sounds like you are participating in a type of comment that you don’t like when other people do it. Ok it’s fair in a sense that it is accepted by its commanility but wouldn’t you rather hold to your higher standard?

On cap and trade and the ACA, I fall into camps that see downsides going down those particular roads and think other roads (a hefty carbon tax and stricter regulations for CO2 and M4A for health care) are better and I feel free to comment why I think that is the case. In the case of the ACA, there is the aspect that the mandate gave insurance companies more power to fight us (I still think there were enough other benefits that it was better than nothing). So I don’t think the situation is analogous. Unless you think Berkeley should have passed a different rule that is now harder to implement because of this one.

When I read progressives get dismissive of singular “small” policies—and I have way too much—yet praise a singular small policy, I think it’s interesting, and quite ironic. Obama is a terrible sellout for expanding renewable energy tax credits which spawned the modern renewables market—its market-based which cannot work and is not enough!—while Berkeley California is great for moving to induction stoves. On a larger level, cap and trade is a sellout maneuver and we need a GND, even though California has spent $8 billion in renewable infrastructure from RT development to active transportation projects via the cap and trade credit system. The latter is real, substantial, happening in real-time, and provides lots of work to lots of people. The projects it’s invested in are exactly what you need to get to substantial GHG reductions. I guess my point is some progressives seem not to hold themselves to a high standard, or any at all, unless that standard is reflexively beating up on “establishment” politicians who initiate similar and important small policies.