(USA Today) In its ongoing effort to slash ozone pollution, California is working to become the first U.S. state to phase out fossil-fueled furnaces and water heaters.
Under a proposal unanimously approved from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Thursday, The Golden State voted to ban the sale of all natural gas-fired space heaters and water-heating appliances by 2030.
The move is designed to meet EPA regulations limiting ozone in the atmosphere to 70 parts per billion, as experts say most of the state exceeds that limit.
“We need to take every action we can to deliver on our commitments to protect public health from the adverse impacts of air pollution, and this strategy identifies how we can do just that,” CARB Chair Liane Randolph said. “While this strategy will clean the air for all Californians, it will also lead to reduced emissions in the many low-income and disadvantaged communities that experience greater levels of persistent air pollution.”
Prior to Thursday’s vote, NPR reported, this issue drew comments of opposition from retired engineer Michael Kapolnek, who said the emissions that would be saved don’t justify the cost to homeowners forced into expensive retrofits, like upgrading electrical service.
Groups including the American Lung Association and the Sierra Club supported the move, the outlet said.
According to a report from the policy research group SPUR, gas appliances in California homes and buildings generate four times as much lung-damaging nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution as the state’s gas power plants, and roughly two-thirds as much NOx as all of the state’s passenger cars.
“To meet federal air quality standards that protect health,” the report reads, “air quality regulators in California must phase out the sale of gas appliances and implement equity-centered implementation plans for transitioning homes to electric alternatives like heat pumps – which produce no onsite air pollution.”
Last month, in an effort to curb the state’s largest source of pollution – transportation –CARB banned the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger cars and light duty trucks beginning in 2035.
According to CARB documents, 35% of all new passenger vehicles sold in California must be zero-emission vehicles by 2026.
California plans to require all new cars, trucks and SUVs to run on electricity or hydrogen by the 2035 deadline under a policy approved by regulators that seeks a dramatic cut in carbon emissions and an eventual end to gasoline-powered vehicles.