Oakland Passes Natural Gas Ban, Dan Kalb Celebrates With Downtown Luxury High Rise Atlas Apartments Pict
The Oakland City Council just passed a ban on the use of natural gas in new residential and commercial buildings. This was the rationale posted here Tuesday:
Oakland City Council will consider groundbreaking legislation to improve building safety and reduce Oakland’s greenhouse gas emissions by prohibiting the use of fossil fuel gas in all newly constructed buildings. While building electrification – powering all energy systems like cooking and heating with electricity – is becoming widespread throughout the state, the legislation introduced by Councilmember Dan Kalb, Mayor Libby Schaaf and Councilmember Nikki Bas represents one of the most comprehensive policies introduced in California thus far.
Unlike electricity, natural gas burned within homes and buildings cannot be made clean. Natural gas, which is primarily methane, creates greenhouse gas emissions when it is burned, and even more when it leaks throughout the gas distribution system. These leaks have severe climate impacts because methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas, more than 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide in its potential to trap heat in the atmosphere.
The trouble is, natural gas costs to home-owners and renters is substantially lower than that for electricity. There was no economic impact done by city staff to estimate how Oaklanders would be impacted in the future. My contention is that an Oakland is being formed that will chase out well-moneyed people for cheaper places to live, and make the poor more likely to be homeless.
District One Oakland City Councilman Dan Kalb, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, and District Two Oakland City Councilwoman Nikki Fortunado Bas, all pushed for the legislation, which passed. But the fact is now active that with this knee-jerk-banning mentality, Oakland is pushing itself toward a future that’s anti-middle-class and poor – and using climate change concerns as the reason.
The Mayor contends that the legislation is for new buildings, and does not even call for conversions. But at time when many Oaklanders, particularly in the flatlands, are fearful of losing the very roof over their heads, spending time on this potentially costly regulation for the future is completely tone-deaf. The law even lacks funding incentives to help builders add an all-electric system rather than natural gas.
To be fair, Oakland’s only following the path set by the California Energy Commission as far back as 2018. Moreover, the State’s utilities, like Pacific Gas and Electric, are on board with an all-electric future. Fine, but what about assuring the construction of affordable housing and extremely affordable housing? It’s one thing for the “affordable community” to be on board, but why not provide a true monetary incentive? Why is Oakland in love with banning, and not with incentives?
This is vastly different than Governor Newsom calling for all-electric car sales in California by 2035. There are already a vast number of affordable electric cars, and the price to fuel and maintain them is going down annually.
And, if climate change is the concern, then why did Oakland City Councilman Kalb use the photo of a new, luxury high-rise in Downtown Oakland to celebrate on his Instagram Page? The Atlas Apartments at 385 14th St, Oakland. The rents range from $2,399 per month for a studio to a 2 bedroom for 6,875 per month. Does Dan get one of those for free? Why show the expensive Atlas Apartments? It’s like rubbing salt in the wound of those concerned about the lack of affordable housing.
But, I guess when you win re-election, you feel like you can do anything you want. That said, I backed Kalb for re-election, and would do so again – but that does not mean I have to like this.
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