Gas use or gas ban? Consider all the good — and bad — effects | An Alternative View | Diana Diamond

We are constantly making collaborative decisions. Sometimes we vote “yes” because it seems like the pc way. But often we support an environmental project in our patriotic environmental communities, for example, without considering costs or future problems.

Case in point: Menlo Park and Palo Alto are considering banning the use of natural gas in new buildings – homes and businesses, which sounds like a good idea to concept, depending on the cost, etc. But cities also say if a gas appliance you now own , breaks, you need to get an electrical replacement. And some officials, especially at Menlo Park, want legislation that obliges homeowners to get rid of all equipment within five or ten years. A council decision on a planned gas ban was postponed Tuesday evening pending additional information.

Let’s see: the proposed bans would include popular gas stoves, gas stoves, gas water heaters, gas fireplaces, gas house heaters, gas leaf blowers – to name a few. Maybe even a ban on propane for our grills.

I’ve heard estimates of $ 5,000 to $ 90,000 per home to convert some or all of the appliances to electrical.

The difficulty is. In Palo Alto at least, the city’s electricity bills are very expensive and the fees are tiered so many of us would jump to the highest or near highest monthly tax payments by converting them and we start talking about real money. This applies to all households; no discounts for seniors and if you want to sell you have to remodel your home first. (These are just ideas for now.)

May I mention here that all revenue from the utility companies in Palo Alto goes directly to the city’s utility, which then has to pay about $ 20 million to the city’s general fund to be used at the discretion of the council and city manager . The transfer is done because the city was the department’s “finder,” so it’s something of an annual finder fee.

Yet cities across the state are rushing forward with proposed bans because it’s politically correct and environmentally friendly.

But is this really an environmental benefit, or are we just kidding ourselves to feel virtuous and gain national recognition for the Palo Alto gas ban – setting a wonderful example that other cities will emulate. “We can be a leader,” said one councilor.

But a ban brings problems. For starters, where will the extra energy come from? That is one of the things Menlo Park will be looking at, and it is necessary. Palo Alto produces its own electricity, but have studies been carried out to see if its utilities department could meet the new electricity needs of the roughly 65,000 people living here – plus all the businesses big and small that have to operate without gas? -Use buildings?

It seems like this city needs to look for an additional supplier. But that has its own irony. More electricity has to come from the power plants. And how are these plants supplied with electricity? By using natural gas to generate electricity. So that means that we use more natural gas so that we use less natural gas. It all sounds a bit illogical.

Another ironic thought comes from a column I read in the Daily Post recently. John Kerry, former Obama Secretary of State and now Biden’s climate ambassador, said that even if the US could reduce its carbon emissions to zero, it wouldn’t make much of a difference globally. “Not when nearly 90% of all global emissions on the planet come from outside of US borders. We could go to zero tomorrow and the problem is not solved, ”said Kerry.

Kerry’s statement deserves a lot of attention, but it certainly cannot be used as an excuse not to do anything, especially as a nation. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do our best to reduce our emissions – but do it locally, nationally and globally, and recognize that local efforts will not change the world’s problem. We have to try to get all nations to control their emissions. Many are unwilling because it will affect their economies and people, and I understand that. But we all have to try together. The problem is too big, the crisis too big to solve alone. We all have to work together.

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