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To fight climate change, California cities look to ban natural gas

A couple dozen cities across the Bay Area in California could soon move forward with bans on natural gas in new buildings, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said Monday.

Driving the news: San Jose is the largest city to pass such a measure in what’s quickly becoming a controversial trend in the Golden State designed to tackle climate change at a more local level.

What they’re saying: "Over the next weeks and months, a couple dozen cities are likely to move forward with similar ordinances,” Liccardo told Axios Monday. “We’ve been in active conversations with all those [Bay Area] cities in how we can do that together.”

Where it stands: With federal inaction on climate change persisting and the topic becoming increasingly important to liberal-leaning Americans, local politicians are moving ahead with piecemeal policies to clamp down on natural gas and other fossil fuels.

  • Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and reduces emissions when displacing coal, but environmentalists and liberal politicians are nonetheless moving past the fuel toward renewables and other clean energy technologies.

The other side: The California Restaurant Association just sued the other major city that’s taken this step, Berkeley. San Jose’s ordinance doesn’t apply to commercial buildings like Berkeley’s does, however.

Yes, but: Liccardo said that some projections show that California residents could end up paying more over time with wholly electrified buildings compared to ones that use natural gas for services like heating and cooking. It depends on long-term costs of electricity and natural gas, he said.

Go deeper: Cities Look to Natural Gas Bans to Curb Carbon Emissions via Scientific American and E&E News