Air District climate win - clean home heating 8/2


This Wednesday, we have an important opportunity to support BAAQMD's commitment to decarbonize our region, starting with their promoting and prioritizing climate-friendly heating devices over wood-burning or natural gas heat. 
What: The Board of Directors will hear an update on their wood burning regulations and the incentive program for replacing wood stoves and fireplaces, and it appears we are poised for another climate and public health victory!

Residential wood burning is actually the largest single source of wintertime particulate matter (PM) pollution in our region--who knew? So we support the change-out of old wood burning devices, and the financial incentives offered by the Air District to accelerate these changes. 
But the status quo thinking has been to replace those devices with wood burning devices that are slightly less polluting--or, even "better," to replace those wood burning devices with natural gas heat, perhaps even extending natural gas service to areas it currently doesn't exist. Crazytown!
We want to see decarbonization of our region, including our homes. And based on their GHG goals, the Air District allegedly does too. So we have advocated for putting incentive money toward replacing these polluting devices
  • not with polluting wood burning,
  • not with climate-disrupting and often-fracked natural gas, and
  • certainly not through building new natural gas infrastructure that will be in use for decades--
  • but rather toward replacing them with feasible "no emission on site" technology, like electric heat pumps.
We've worked with American Lung Association of California, Families for Clean Air, and the Sierra Club on this, mostly in fits and starts while pursuing our work on GHG and refinery regulations. And it appears our allies and we have carried the day! While we've seen nothing in writing, BAAQMD staff have committed to key folks that they will prioritize electric heat pumps to receive the highest amount of incentive funding for replacement while providing $0 for wood burning stoves
This is a serious turnaround from the abysmal state of the rule the last time we saw it and is a big step for the Air District. The new rule will be presented at the meeting Wednesday, and it will be very important to have as many voices there as possible in support. This is only the beginning of the decarbonization pathway we need them to follow for the next decades. Also, of course, what takes place here in the Bay Area can set a precedent for the rest of the state, through the other Air Districts and directly through CARB.
While this is a relatively small niche compared to an entire comprehensive regulatory program for GHGs that we've been plugging away at for years and are finally winning, this is a critical test and first step in Air District staff putting the rubber to the road. We need to back them up.

We hope to see you on Wednesday!

September 02, 2015 at 9:45am - 11:45am
Air District Headquarters
939 Ellis St
7th Floor Board Room
San Francisco, CA 94109
United States
Google map and directions
Jed Holtzman

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