California Proposes to Ban Natural Gas Furnaces and Water Heaters by 2030

Peyton Holliday | September 28, 2022 | 4:29pm EDT
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A natural gas-fired furnace.  (Getty Images)
A natural gas-fired furnace. (Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- California is seeking to meet federal ozone standards by banning natural gas furnaces and water heaters in homes by 2030, a step that could cost many state citizens thousands of dollars.

“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,” said California Air Resources Board Chair Liane Randolph.

“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,” she added in a statement.

The CARB passed the measure on Sept. 22, which requires the state to attain the "federal health-based standard for ozone," which we experience as smog, reported the Los Angeles Times. Also, that vote is not the final step. "Rather, it directed state agencies to draft a rule for phasing out gas-fueled appliances that will be up for a final vote in 2025," said The Times.  The goal is to meet the federal ozone standard by 2037.

For CARB, the concern is about ozone depletion in the atmosphere, which is caused by a variety of industrial emissions.

 According to NASA’s Ozone Watch, “Ozone is a colorless gas. Chemically, ozone is very active; it reacts readily with a great many other substances. Near the Earth’s surface, those reactions cause rubber to crack, hurt plant life, and damage people’s lung tissues. But ozone also absorbs harmful components of sunlight, known as ‘ultraviolet B,’ or ‘UV-B.’ High above the surface, above even the weather systems, a tenuous layer of ozone gas absorbs UV-B, protecting living things below.”

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

According to the EPA, “[G]lobal production of CFCs and other ODS [ozone depleting substances] continued to grow rapidly as new uses were found for these chemicals in refrigeration, fire suppression, foam insulation, and other applications.”

The American Gas Association stated, “Any proposal that bans natural gas or natural gas appliances would be harmful to consumers and to the environment. America’s natural gas utilities invest millions of dollars every day to advance low- and zero-carbon energy technologies and reduce emissions, efforts that have led to a 69 percent decline in emissions since 1990.”

“Natural gas is helping our nation achieve our environmental goals in real-time, and the data prove that out,” said the association. “Conversely, this proposal would impose undue burdens on consumers at every step of the process, including our most vulnerable communities, all without the environmental benefit that is claimed. This proposal is simply bad policy.”

While the AGA is opposed to the proposal, cost is another major factor.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

According to the California Air Resources Board website, “The total net cost of the 2022 State SIP Strategy is estimated at $96.2 billion, which includes $33.8 billion in CARB measures and $62.3 billion in measures that require federal actions between 2023 and 2037 with an annual cost of $8.8 billion. These costs do not reflect the potential health and environmental benefits of attaining the federal ambient air quality standards.”

A family in California went all electric in their 1954 house and paid thousands to switch over. Green Tech Media reported, “The Guays paid $13,100 for the installation of an 18,000-BTU mini ducted heat pump from Fujitsu and accompanying duct work. A-1 had to install duct work for the unit because the home had lacked central heating.”

These costs were only for some of the work, but not the total project.

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