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Climate and Environment

Buh-Bye, Gas! Come January, New Buildings In LA Will Have To Be Fully Electric

The skyscrapers from Downtown LA are seen on the background of a foggy highway with some cars and trucks.
Downtown Los Angeles.
(Frederic J. Brown
/
AFP via Getty Images)
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L.A city council members unanimously approved an ordinance Wednesday that will require all new buildings in the city to be fully electric, effective in January. That means no more gas-powered stoves, heaters or gas hookups for new construction.

Los Angeles joins nearly 70 California cities and counties that have already adopted similar rules.

Why It Matters

Research shows that gas appliances, such as stoves, are linked to asthma and even cancer. And from those stoves to the way they're wired, gas-powered buildings account for more than 40% of L.A.’s total carbon footprint.

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"It's both important for the climate in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also a public health concern," said Maro Kakoussian, the climate justice manager for the L.A. chapter of non-profit Physicians for Social Responsibility.

According to the motion:

Buildings in Los Angeles account for 43% of greenhouse gas emissions—more than any other sector in the city, and more than they comprise at nationwide (30%) or statewide (25%) levels.

The Backstory

The motion to draft the ordinance was introduced in May by Nithya Raman, the councilmember for District 4. A coalition of Angelenos from environmental, health, labor, housing and tenants rights organizations, dubbed the LEAP LA Coalition, had urged the measure be considered. The group was instrumental to ensuring environmental justice is a required consideration while the city moves to transition away from fossil fuels.

Some Exceptions

The ordinance includes some exceptions, including allowances for gas-powered emergency equipment.

What's Next

A draft of a similar, but separate ordinance to retrofit existing buildings for electrification is expected early next year.

Also Passed: Affordable Housing

Council members also unanimously voted Wednesday to come up with a plan to build affordable housing in transit-rich corridors as part of the city's 2021-2029 housing element. So-called "housing elements" are required under state law to addressing jurisdictions housing needs.

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Supporters say the plan will be important particularly for Westside communities that have lagged in building state-required affordable housing and are majority white. The idea is also to reduce long commutes to the area, which would be a climate and air pollution win.

Climate Emergency Questions
Fires. Mudslides. Heat waves. What questions do you need answered as you prepare for the effects of the climate emergency?