Los Angeles is taking a necessary and overdue step in the fight against climate change and lung-damaging air pollution. The City Council voted last month to ban most natural gas-fueled appliances in newly constructed residential and commercial buildings, aiming to get the new rules in place by Jan. 1, 2023.
As with any technological shift, there has been some resistance. The restaurant industry, in particular, has raised concerns about the effects on commercial kitchens, and the natural gas industry is fighting to preserve a business model based on the sale of an unhealthy and polluting fossil fuel.
But it’s desperately needed to prevent locking in fossil fuel use for decades. Natural gas use in homes and buildings accounts for about 10% of California’s planet-warming emissions, and consumption has been rising in recent years. Deadly wildfires, air pollution and heat waves and other effects of a worsening climate crisis show the urgency of slashing these emissions from stoves, water heaters, furnaces and clothes dryers. It is clearer than ever that the future needs to be electric.