(Sacramento) – To ramp up California’s efforts to slash greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) today introduced AB 33, aimed at cutting back natural gas usage in residential and commercial buildings. Natural gas is essentially comprised of methane, a pollutant that contributes to climate change.
After its release, methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide over the course of two decades. Nearly 10% of the state’s carbon emissions comes from the use of water heaters, furnaces, dryers, stoves and other appliances powered by natural gas, but the percentage can be much higher in big cities.
“We need to confront rising GHG emissions by reducing these harmful air pollutants where we can. No adjustment is too small. Now that California has committed to transitioning to cleaner cars, we must take action across other sectors to help address our climate crisis and meet our goals,” said Ting.
AB 33 seeks to ban natural gas connections in new public schools and state buildings. It also prohibits utilities from subsidizing expansion of the natural gas network. For example, they could no longer grant discounts, or “allowances,” on infrastructure costs associated with new gas pipe installations.
Electricity usage has a lower carbon footprint than natural gas in California because of the state’s growing investments in renewable energy, such as solar and wind, as well as efficiencies associated with electric appliances. Electrification also decreases indoor air pollution, which contributes to respiratory problems.
The first committee hearing for AB 33 is expected to be in the Spring. If approved, AB 33 would not affect local ordinances banning natural gas in newly constructed buildings. San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, and Santa Monica are among the 40 California communities approving such regulations.
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