ashland.news
June 13, 2024

Letter: Support effective climate and energy action

February 7, 2024

The Ashland Youth for Electrification Campaign has worked diligently to support the structuring of a city ordinance that will meet Ashland’s Climate and Clean Energy Plan and urges the City Council to enact an ordinance which will ban natural gas hookups in new residential construction.

Ashland’s Climate and Environment Policy Advisory Committee (CEPAC) is charged with assisting the city in making recommendations for updating and implementing the Climate and Environment Energy Action Plan (CEAP) which calls for an annual 8% reduction in greenhouse gases (GHG). This Climate and Clean Air Policy is a crucial step in mitigating our city’s greenhouse gas emissions, improving our air quality, and protecting our health.

Natural gas is a major contributor to climate change. Although the name natural gas sounds non-threatening, natural gas consists of 70-90% methane. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere. Even though CO2 has a longer-lasting effect, methane sets the pace for warming in the near term.

Natural gas is also a major source of indoor and outdoor air pollution, which harms our health and environment. Gas appliances emit toxic chemicals such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, which can cause respiratory problems, asthma, and cancer. Gas stoves can produce dangerous levels of indoor air pollution, affecting children and vulnerable populations.

By switching to electric appliances powered by renewable energy, we can cut our carbon footprint and help Ashland meet its climate goals. Also, electric appliances are becoming more efficient, dependable, and affordable than gas ones, saving money and energy for consumers.

By banning gas hookups in new construction, Ashland can join the growing movement of cities across Oregon and beyond that are taking action to phase out fossil fuels and transition to clean energy. Such ordinances are supported by environmental groups, health advocates, building professionals, and business leaders, who recognize the benefits of electrifying our buildings in the effort to protect our quality of life and our safety.

I urge Ashland residents to voice support of this ordinance to the City Council to make Ashland a leader in the fight against climate change, air pollution, and health risks. Ashland is a wonderful place to live. Please take supportive action to help keep it that way.

David Bekermeier

Ashland

Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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