California’s Latest Descent Into Green Madness: Berkeley Bans Natural Gas
The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)/by bennypeiser/2h
The eco-left has sunk its teeth into state and local government in California, and it will be struggling families who pay the price.
From sanctuary cities to brutally high taxes, California is the undisputed center of gravity for today’s far-left. If you want to see how liberal policies would look on a national level, you don’t have to imagine it. You can just look at the thousands fleeing the once-great state.
In the latest chapter of California’s descent into liberal madness, the city of Berkeley – a hotbed of radical liberalism – became the first city in America to ban natural gas from new homes and businesses, including restaurants that use natural gas for stoves.
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Environmentalists are reportedly hailing this development as a major victory, and it might not be an isolated incident. More than 50 other cities in California are considering following Berkeley’s lead.
While it’s unsurprising that Berkeley – a city that’s already banned plastic straws – would ban natural gas, that’s little consolation to the citizens who have not yet fled.
Natural gas is a critical fuel used by homes, both for cooking on gas ranges and for heating. Berkeley’s new law hurts homeowners both by depriving them of freedom and by forcing them to use more expensive alternatives, notably electric stoves and heating.
There are major advantages to gas cooking. Those include finer temperature control, quicker temperature response times, easy cleaning, and reliability when the power goes out. Ask anyone who watches the Food Network or who works at a restaurant whether they’d like to use a gas range or an electric range.
Natural gas is typically half the price of electric heating. It’s even more efficient and heats up homes faster on average.
The logic behind the Berkeley ban seems to be this: we can help the planet and reduce carbon emissions by eliminating natural gas and switching to electric heating and cooking. This is completely warped: the electric grid is powered predominantly by fossil fuels. The state prides itself on having very little coal, but it imports electricity from neighboring states like Utah and Arizona where it is generated by coal. Somehow displacing the emissions from California to another state, and charging the taxpayers more, fulfills the criteria for being “green.”
Natural gas is incredibly clean, producing very low emissions. In recent years, thanks to the fracking revolution, American natural gas production has exploded – and it’s just the beginning. Experts estimate that Alaska is sitting on 200 trillion cubic feet of untapped natural gas, and the state is working on building a new pipeline to help bring it to market.
Berkeley’s natural gas ban adds to the ever-increasing cost of homeownership in California, which has already been stressed by eco-demands. The state is mandating that, beginning next year, every new home must be fitted with solar panels, raising the cost of a new home by $10,000. Higher home prices, higher electric bills, fewer choices – that’s the future Californians are being promised by their government. It’s no wonder families are fleeing the state, and that California is led only by New York in out-migration.
Just look to our friends in Europe to see how damaging eco-policies can be. Citizens of Germany and Denmark, for instance, face electric rates around three times that of America.
Is this the future we want for our country? I, for one, think the answer is clear, but it seems those running city government in Berkeley have a different idea. That American citizens should be deprived of access to natural gas makes very little sense from an economic, environmental, or even logical sense. But that didn’t prevent Berkeley from pursuing it anyway.
During the high of California’s drought, it was the rich who didn’t conserve water and who continued lawn and pool upkeep. It was the poor who were fined. Similarly, under this silly plan, Berkeley’s wealthy will find a way to bypass the law and get the gas stoves and gas heating they want. It’s always the regular, average citizens who suffer when elites decide to be “green.”