No more gas: Requiring new residential and commercial building construction to utilize all-electric power, starting with projects that file permits in 2021 and 60% of current development pipeline

San Francisco’s gas ban on new buildings could prompt statewide action Utility Dive | Kristin Musulin Nov-Dec 2020

San Francisco recently became the latest, and perhaps the largest, U.S. city to ban natural gas in new buildings. The city’s Board of Supervisors passed legislation requiring new residential and commercial building construction to utilize all-electric power, starting with projects that file permits next year.

This ordinance will cover about 60% of the city’s current development pipeline in an effort to reduce city carbon emissions and tackle climate change, said District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman in the meeting. […]

The vote also adds San Francisco to the growing list of nearly 40 California cities to pass such ordinances since Berkeley’s historic ban on natural gas infrastructure in July 2019. Experts say San Francisco’s measure could hold enough weight to pressure similar legislation from cities such as Los Angeles, and could even push Gov. Gavin Newsom, D, toward statewide action.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) is currently considering updates to its building energy efficiency standards under Title 24, said Earthjustice Staff Attorney Matt Vespa. Newsom has a particularly special relationship with San Francisco as its former mayor, which could inspire him to follow suit with the city, said Vespa. […] Residential and commercial buildings are responsible for about 25% of California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the California Air Resources Board. Senate Bill 32 requires California to reduce its statewide GHG emissions to 40% below 1990 levels in the next 10 years, and some argue the building sector should be the primary target of this effort.

Portland eyes carbon tax to fund city climate initiatives OregonLive | Shane Dixon Kavanaugh

Portland greenhouse gas producers may soon face a first-of-its-kind tax designed to help combat climate change, city officials told The Oregonian/OregonLive on Thursday. A Bureau of Planning and Sustainability proposal would target local facilities that emit large amounts of carbon and other airborne pollutants already monitored by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, said Donnie Oliveira, the bureau’s deputy director. Those could include manufacturers, hospitals and colleges and universities, according to multiple people briefed on the plan, many of which are under financial strain due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Details are not yet finalized, Oliveira said. But he said the planning bureau is looking at carbon tax of about $25 a ton. That could generate as much as $10 million a year to help bolster a suite of Portland’s climate initiatives, which include investments to reduce the city’s fossil fuel emissions and improve overall air quality, Oliveira said. According to Oliveira, planning bureau staff began exploring potential revenue streams for such environmental projects soon after the City Council declared a climate emergency for Portland at the end of June. Mayor Ted Wheeler held the planning bureau in his portfolio at the time. He has since turned it over to Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, an outspoken environmental advocate and fossil fuels opponent. The bureau is seeking a City Council vote on the proposal before the end of this year in order to align with the city’s tax calendar, Oliveira said. It would require three yes votes from the five-person council for the proposal to take effect. Should it pass, Portland would become the first U.S. city to impose a greenhouse gas emissions tax, according to Oliveira.