News

Palo Alto to explore new laws to curb gas vehicles, appliances

City Council acknowledges '80 by 30' goal may be out of reach

As part of a push to curb carbon emissions, Palo Alto plans to explore new programs to spur drivers to convert to electric vehicles, including a possible ban on registration of gas vehicles by 2030. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

Four years after they adopted a lofty goal of cutting emissions by 80% by 2030, Palo Alto's elected leaders are confronting a sobering reality: Barring something dramatic, it's probably not happening.

The city has been in a bit of a rut of late when it comes to meeting sustainability targets. Since 2016, its emissions have remained stubbornly flat at slightly below 500,000 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent. The city did offset about 150,000 megatons in 2018 by purchasing certificates through its PaloAltoGreen Gas program, funding that supports sustainability projects at rural farms elsewhere in the nation.

Given these offsets, staff is estimating that it has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by about 56% from the 1990 baseline. Everyone acknowledges that getting to 80% by 2030 (with 1990 as the baseline) will be much harder.

In the coming months, as part of the city's work on the Sustainability/Climate Action Plan, staff will work with the consulting firm AECOM to evaluate the various ideas for cutting emissions. The most dramatic actions (classified as "high intervention") include requiring new non-residential developments to be all-electric, banning registration of gasoline cars in Palo Alto by 2030 and requiring apartment buildings to provide chargers for electric vehicles.

The list of ideas also includes retrofitting multifamily buildings to replace wall furnaces with electric heat pump systems by 2030; electrifying gas appliances in single-family homes upon home sale beginning in 2025; and electrifying water heating and space heating systems in schools by 2030.

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In discussing these initiatives, some council members acknowledged that the "80 by 30" goal that the council adopted in 2016 may be out of reach.

"We're kind of in a cognitive dissonance situation," Councilman Eric Filseth said. "On the one hand, we're doing lots of good stuff. On the other hand, we're not going to hit '80 by 30' and we know it."

The city has three options, he said. It can engage in "high intervention" activities that focus on turning off natural gas and banning cars. It can modify either the 80 or the 30 in its official goal. Or, he said, "we can continue with the cognitive dissonance, where 80 by 30 is kind of aspirational and we keep doing nice things and do low-interventional stuff but we're not going to get to 80 by 30."

"It's going to get harder to do that as we get closer and closer to 2030," Filseth said.

The coronavirus pandemic adds another level of uncertainty. With the city's revenues cratering, Palo Alto has less funding available for electrification projects and other ambitious efforts. Christine Luong, the city's sustainability manager, indicated that the city plans to focus on "low cost" tools such as voluntary programs, education efforts and pilot projects for the next two years, as the pandemic plays out.

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"But we're going to need to explore different funding streams such as ballot measures, bond measures or establishing a carbon fund so we can meet an 80 by 30 goal," Luong said.

The health crisis is also shifting some of Palo Alto's transportation discussions. Vice Mayor Tom DuBois suggested that the city revise its sustainability plan to account for pandemic-era changes in commute patterns. Fewer people may take public transit in the coming months he said, while many will likely continue to work from home.

"We really have to consider the impacts of COVID and what we learned in the last couple of months," DuBois said. "There's a huge opportunity to double down on remote work options.

Council members Liz Kniss and Greg Tanaka both emphasized the importance of making it easier and cheaper to replace their gas appliances with electric ones. Kniss also noted that if the city moves to ban gas vehicles and mandate electric ones, it will have to figure out ways to make sure apartment buildings have enough charging stations to accommodate the mandate.

"If we're really going to say, 'No cars or no one who is not driving an electric vehicle within 10 years,' we should face that we really have a lot of work to do to get there," Kniss said. "Great goal, but you need some realistic stepping stones along the way."

When it comes to electrification of residential buildings, the city may look at it on a block-by-block basis. City Manager Ed Shikada proposed the "Cool Block" model, which encourages coordination among neighbors to promote sustainability, as one that the city can follow.

Sandra Slater, who has participated in and managed the Cool Block program in Palo Alto, was one of nearly 20 residents who urged the council to persist in working toward its sustainability goal.

"We haven't made much progress in the last several years but we have a lot of ammunition in our quiver," Slater said. "We've got to identify what the barriers are to get these programs in place and figure out how to get them implemented."

Dashiell Leeds, conservation assistant with the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter supported the city's effort to reach 80% emission reductions from the 1990 level and suggested that a good way to start is by electrifying city-owned buildings. He urged the council to retain its goal for cutting emissions.

"By setting ambitious targets, we can sort of give other cities the motivation to set similar targets," Leeds said. "And it can transform ideas that may seem far-reaching to incredibly reasonable, as long as there is a consensus."

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Palo Alto to explore new laws to curb gas vehicles, appliances

City Council acknowledges '80 by 30' goal may be out of reach

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 9:35 am

Four years after they adopted a lofty goal of cutting emissions by 80% by 2030, Palo Alto's elected leaders are confronting a sobering reality: Barring something dramatic, it's probably not happening.

The city has been in a bit of a rut of late when it comes to meeting sustainability targets. Since 2016, its emissions have remained stubbornly flat at slightly below 500,000 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent. The city did offset about 150,000 megatons in 2018 by purchasing certificates through its PaloAltoGreen Gas program, funding that supports sustainability projects at rural farms elsewhere in the nation.

Given these offsets, staff is estimating that it has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by about 56% from the 1990 baseline. Everyone acknowledges that getting to 80% by 2030 (with 1990 as the baseline) will be much harder.

In the coming months, as part of the city's work on the Sustainability/Climate Action Plan, staff will work with the consulting firm AECOM to evaluate the various ideas for cutting emissions. The most dramatic actions (classified as "high intervention") include requiring new non-residential developments to be all-electric, banning registration of gasoline cars in Palo Alto by 2030 and requiring apartment buildings to provide chargers for electric vehicles.

The list of ideas also includes retrofitting multifamily buildings to replace wall furnaces with electric heat pump systems by 2030; electrifying gas appliances in single-family homes upon home sale beginning in 2025; and electrifying water heating and space heating systems in schools by 2030.

In discussing these initiatives, some council members acknowledged that the "80 by 30" goal that the council adopted in 2016 may be out of reach.

"We're kind of in a cognitive dissonance situation," Councilman Eric Filseth said. "On the one hand, we're doing lots of good stuff. On the other hand, we're not going to hit '80 by 30' and we know it."

The city has three options, he said. It can engage in "high intervention" activities that focus on turning off natural gas and banning cars. It can modify either the 80 or the 30 in its official goal. Or, he said, "we can continue with the cognitive dissonance, where 80 by 30 is kind of aspirational and we keep doing nice things and do low-interventional stuff but we're not going to get to 80 by 30."

"It's going to get harder to do that as we get closer and closer to 2030," Filseth said.

The coronavirus pandemic adds another level of uncertainty. With the city's revenues cratering, Palo Alto has less funding available for electrification projects and other ambitious efforts. Christine Luong, the city's sustainability manager, indicated that the city plans to focus on "low cost" tools such as voluntary programs, education efforts and pilot projects for the next two years, as the pandemic plays out.

"But we're going to need to explore different funding streams such as ballot measures, bond measures or establishing a carbon fund so we can meet an 80 by 30 goal," Luong said.

The health crisis is also shifting some of Palo Alto's transportation discussions. Vice Mayor Tom DuBois suggested that the city revise its sustainability plan to account for pandemic-era changes in commute patterns. Fewer people may take public transit in the coming months he said, while many will likely continue to work from home.

"We really have to consider the impacts of COVID and what we learned in the last couple of months," DuBois said. "There's a huge opportunity to double down on remote work options.

Council members Liz Kniss and Greg Tanaka both emphasized the importance of making it easier and cheaper to replace their gas appliances with electric ones. Kniss also noted that if the city moves to ban gas vehicles and mandate electric ones, it will have to figure out ways to make sure apartment buildings have enough charging stations to accommodate the mandate.

"If we're really going to say, 'No cars or no one who is not driving an electric vehicle within 10 years,' we should face that we really have a lot of work to do to get there," Kniss said. "Great goal, but you need some realistic stepping stones along the way."

When it comes to electrification of residential buildings, the city may look at it on a block-by-block basis. City Manager Ed Shikada proposed the "Cool Block" model, which encourages coordination among neighbors to promote sustainability, as one that the city can follow.

Sandra Slater, who has participated in and managed the Cool Block program in Palo Alto, was one of nearly 20 residents who urged the council to persist in working toward its sustainability goal.

"We haven't made much progress in the last several years but we have a lot of ammunition in our quiver," Slater said. "We've got to identify what the barriers are to get these programs in place and figure out how to get them implemented."

Dashiell Leeds, conservation assistant with the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter supported the city's effort to reach 80% emission reductions from the 1990 level and suggested that a good way to start is by electrifying city-owned buildings. He urged the council to retain its goal for cutting emissions.

"By setting ambitious targets, we can sort of give other cities the motivation to set similar targets," Leeds said. "And it can transform ideas that may seem far-reaching to incredibly reasonable, as long as there is a consensus."

Comments

KOhlson
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 9:50 am
KOhlson, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 9:50 am
11 people like this

I have yet to see an end-to-end economic analysis of this initiative, including homeowners and the City/Utilities. Is there one? Given proper economic incentives, people will change. We use under $30/month in electricity, for non-winter months. This is directly attributable to LED light bulbs and Energy Star appliances.


Major Problems Require Serious Solutions
Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 9:53 am
Major Problems Require Serious Solutions, Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 9:53 am
35 people like this

Cool Blocks is not the right approach. It is based on self-reported "savings" rather than independently-verified outcomes. Serious climate threats mandate we take serious, major action rather than indulge in simplistic I-give-myself-a-gold-star delusions

Scaling way back on office commuting makes far more sense. Let's say "no" to new office construction and "yes" to making it easier for people to work at home.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:06 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:06 am
36 people like this

Glad it's going to die. I can't believe that former city manager Keene's pet project Cool Block is still inserting itself into our lives. You'll recall that when Mr Keene kept pushing it, the community objected to it duplicated existing VOLUNTEER services and we didn't need yet another pricey consultant gravy train.

Is the city going to buy us all new appliances and new furnaces so it can get us off gas SO they can raise our utility bills even more? Do residents and struggling restaurants need the added expense? Get real.

Let the PAU concentrate on REDUCING our utility rates since they've been running a $20,000,000 "surplus" by over-charging us every year for many years. Which reminds me, what's happening with that citizen lawsuit against those overcharges?


Jonah
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:18 am
Jonah, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:18 am
34 people like this

The story does not mention that Alison Cormak actually expressed support for turning off natural gas and banning gasoline fueled cars.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:25 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:25 am
31 people like this

Jonah, thanks for stating Ms. Cormack's position. Shame on her. Was she planning on buying us all new cars, too?

The city can't even efficiently process $25 rebates for new water heaters. Does it have a clue how much plumbers charge by the hour when trying to use


Miriam Palm
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:30 am
Miriam Palm, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:30 am
40 people like this

Keep your hands off my gas appliances. What happened to freedom of choice?


Rose
Mayfield
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:41 am
Rose, Mayfield
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:41 am
6 people like this

I’m in a 55-unit condo building with gas fireplaces. I turned off the gas years ago because the fireplace was worthless - it hardly generated any heat. How do I find a good electric replacement? It would be helpful if the city provided info on the best electric products to swap in? Where does one start? I love this planet and I want to help. How can Palo Alto make the transition from gas to electric easier?


Midtown senior
Palo Verde
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:01 am
Midtown senior, Palo Verde
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:01 am
10 people like this

Do we finally finish the job by blocking off Page Mill Road, Charleston/Arastradero, Churchill, East Meadow and our share of San Antonio to commuter traffic and place guards there to enforce the blockade. We'd also have to deal with El Camino. In the meantime let's immediately place bulb-outs and speed bumps on all these streets. Why wait 'til 2030?


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:02 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:02 am
37 people like this

"The most dramatic actions (classified as "high intervention") include requiring new non-residential developments to be all-electric, BANNING REGISTRATION OF GASOLINE CARS in Palo Alto by 2030 and requiring apartment buildings to provide chargers for electric vehicles."

Does PA have its very own DMV handling car registrations now? Or are our "leaders" planning on creating one? Will have our very own license plates? No wonder we pay them the big bucks.


pestocat
University South
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:20 am
pestocat, University South
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:20 am
13 people like this

Staff is suggesting residents give up their gas stoves and gas water heaters and convert to all electric. To me this makes no sense. They even want to turn off old gas lines rather than replacing them replacing them. In California ½ of the electricity is generated from natural gas. Running electric clothes dryers would actually generate more GHG. I have suggested that an incentive program be set up to convert wood burning fireplaces to a natural gas insert. What I think is going on is that staff wants to sell more electricity to generate more income. They really don’t care about GHG, it’s only an excuse that sounds good. There are fireplace inserts that are very efficient. We have a Hearthstone gas stove for heating. We have not used the furnace for the last 2 years. It works on the thermostat too.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:25 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:25 am
20 people like this

The electricity supply in Palo Alto is too unreliable. We have lost power several times in the past year due to tree limbs, geese, seagulls and mylar balloons. Most of the outages are not in storms or even when it rains.

If electricity was more reliable with less ugly wires dangling through trees, it might make sense. But undergrounding seems to have stopped.


Tom from Midtown
Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:14 pm
Tom from Midtown, Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:14 pm
13 people like this

I was surprised to see that nowhere in either the story nor the comments was there a mention of solar electricity. I think there needs to be, and more than just a "mention". Palo Alto, for all its desire to be out front on energy issues such as residential solar, actually makes it much (much!) more difficult than most surrounding communities. Chiefly this is done through an arduous permitting process, which forces solar energy suppliers to go back again and again to respond to tinier and tinier modification demands; each time drives up the costs. Having just gone through this, I've seen first-hand how it goes. We used one of the most respected solar providers in the area and what I learned from them is that they are actively considering no longer to offer their service in Palo Alto at all: the permitting process just gets so expensive that it is much less profitable to do business here than in Mountain View or Sunnyvale (those two were mentioned explicitly, though I do not have independent data). There is no question whatsoever that Palo Alto residents want a very expensive investment such as solar panels to be designed and installed correctly; but enforcing a regimen that actually drives the best solar providers away is counter-productive, not to say mind-boggling.


Decrease the population
Downtown North
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:35 pm
Decrease the population, Downtown North
on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:35 pm
18 people like this

If you really want to help with green house emissions world wide and locally - you need to decrease the demand. That means fewer people. Why will no one discussed the massive overpopulation in the world when they discuss global warming. Even if you look at the state of California, we have made no substantial gains since with each improvement we add more people that negate the gains. We need a set human population goal!

We will never get ahead of the destruction of the open spaces, forests and oceans, and pollution of the land and air until we learn to decrease our numbers. We are in the midst of a massive human caused extinction crisis, we are unleashing diseases on our species from invasion of other animals habitats and we are making the planet uninhabitable from our production of pollution and plastic but we will not stop the exponential growth of the human species.

WE have done this all in a couple hundred years. So, we really aren't the smartest species on the planet like some think. Just the most destructive.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 1:12 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 1:12 pm
3 people like this

>> Why will no one discussed the massive overpopulation in the world when they discuss global warming.

It started with the Sierra Club's acceptance of the 2004 Gelbaum donation, which came with strings.

Web Link


Anon
Evergreen Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 1:51 pm
Anon, Evergreen Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 1:51 pm
38 people like this

Agree with Jonah and other posters above that council member Cormack is outrageously out of touch with reality in her comments last night.
Ridiculous unrealistic and probably not legal.

As to installing solar systems on our properties we own....why bother when Scott Wiener and others in the state legislature are trying to skirt the democratic process destroy single family home neighborhoods and allow huge expansion of development standards that could allow giant buildings in adjacent lots that shade solar systems L.

The one two punch of state legislators and our own local elected s trying to destroy our lives and democracy is something we shouldn’t longer tolerate!

Seriously people get involved, there’s a lot at stake


HN
Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 2:23 pm
HN, Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 2:23 pm
4 people like this

[Post removed.]


PhilB
St. Claire Gardens
on Jun 17, 2020 at 2:50 pm
PhilB, St. Claire Gardens
on Jun 17, 2020 at 2:50 pm
5 people like this

In 2030, I'm supposed to stop driving my 2007 Porsche Cayman? Those cars easily last 25-30 years, and I don't put on that many miles a year on my car. Or am I supposed to spring for one of these cars: Web Link


James
Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 3:37 pm
James, Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 3:37 pm
28 people like this

Well, those who complain should look yourself in the mirror, because you elected them, and more importantly, you nurtured the liberal environment, for years and years, that made this possible.

From renaming of Jordan Middle School to the ban of new gas appliances, from repeal of Prop 209 to the new state-wide rent control, and the eventual repeal of Prop 13, all these efforts are possible because of your years of naivety, your years of support to the "liberal cause".

This is chicken comes back to roost.

We are witnessing the rapid decay of a great nation. China (and Asia) will win out, in about two decades, because they are far more efficient and don't have this much nonsense.



Family Friendly
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 3:58 pm
Family Friendly, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 3:58 pm
24 people like this

It does feel like we're about to reach the point of flight of talent and capital out of the country, collapse of the currency, and battles among ethnic groups over the dwindling remains.

Welcome to the third world.


James 2
Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 5:41 pm
James 2, Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 5:41 pm
24 people like this

How many rounds of BART taxes, VTA taxes, environmental taxes, school bonds, income taxes, other kinds of parcel taxes, have you supported over the years? What about protest on "ground water waste" when your neighbor pumps excess water to the bay during construction, subconsciously envious of their ability to afford a new house. Or so-called recycling bins which, when collected, are dumped somewhere they don't tell you, but nowhere near the idea of recycle or reuse, because China has refused to accept them.

Felt pretty good at the time, right?

Every time you support these feel-good measures you embolden them to be even more greedy. You put them onto higher and higher "moral ground".

To quote someone on the Internet, "People complain about corporate greed, but no one notices government greed, they say it goes back to the people, but it really doesn't, it actually just increases government power and decreases personal liberty".


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 5:43 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 5:43 pm
32 people like this

At what stage do we rebel against government intervention in our lives, particularly at the local level? We have just had flavored tobacco ban and all that will do is to force people to shop online or out of town and some long time businesses to go bankrupt.

Local CCs are not supposed to be the dictators of what we can and can't do when it comes to vices or how we cook our food.

Perhaps the CC only ever heat up frozen pizza, made of course with vegan and plant based ingredients in a microwave!


Family Friendly
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:06 pm
Family Friendly, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:06 pm
38 people like this

You can vote your way into socialism, but you have to shoot your way out.

I hope it doesn't come to that in my lifetime, but I'm not sure.


Adorno
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:23 pm
Adorno, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:23 pm
38 people like this

Palo Alto has become an experiment in social engineering to see if you can create a Maoist style reeducation camp for 65,000 people without using any walls or uniformed guards.

Like Mao's Red Guard the people pushing this at the local level are well indoctrinated, narrowly educated, and full of revolutionary zeal, which blinds them from seeing how sick it all is. Instead they march around full of virtue spouting empty slogans they can't fully explain.

Palo Alto's intelligentsia need to stand up to these small minded bullies and teach them some science. There is a lot at stake here. If the experiment is successful in Palo Alto, they are going to roll it out everywhere.

God help us.


AnnetteG
Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:40 pm
AnnetteG, Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:40 pm
17 people like this

I, for one, don't plan on giving up my gas stove. We are going way too far with the concept of banning non-electric cars. There is no way that any city can enforce this....or reduce the need for parking. Most of my neighbors have 3 cars and unfortunately park their cars on street...very obvious now with the Shelter in Place.
These proposals are an incentive to leave Palo Alto.


Dan
Midtown
on Jun 18, 2020 at 12:55 am
Dan, Midtown
on Jun 18, 2020 at 12:55 am
9 people like this

"we can continue with the cognitive dissonance, where 80 by 30 is kind of aspirational".
Yep, that is what you need to do at this point ... it is not going to happen because only a small subset of the population has this aspiration once they understand the cost. The rest of us are just trying to make a living, raise families and get by day to day. Electric cars are not a solution for everyone ... expensive to buy and lots of limitations (try driving and spending time in rural areas with an electric car ... or pulling into a gas station and "recharging" in under 5 minutes)


Midtown senior
Palo Verde
on Jun 18, 2020 at 9:06 am
Midtown senior, Palo Verde
on Jun 18, 2020 at 9:06 am
16 people like this

As I have repeatedly said during the Ross Road controversy, there is a democratic process here. Vote all those out of the CC who support continued social engineering!


Marie
South of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2020 at 10:54 am
Marie, South of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2020 at 10:54 am
19 people like this

When Palo Alto's budget is in freefall, and so many people are unemployed it is time to eliminate the nice-to-have projects, slow down capital projects, renegotiate extravagant pension and retiree medical benefits, negotiate the temporary reduction in wages and bonuses and stop spending on projects that cost Palo Altans more. Switching to electricity from gas makes sense only if that electricity is not generated by gas (as is half the electricity in CA) and the cost to residents is not increased. It is much more expensive to heat my house and dry my clothes by electricity. Once all electricity in CA is generated by sustainable methods, then we can open the conversation again. It is also time for the utility department to purchase the cheapest electricity and gas, not the greenest. At this moment, if there is an overall increased demand for electricity in CA, that demand is mostly satisfied by increasing the amount of electricity generated by gas. Palo Alto's decision to voluntarily pay more for energy so we can boast about using only green sources, has no impact on the overall amount of electricity generated by gas, only what we pay for it. I support research into how to increase our use of solar energy etc ... but it has to be cost-effective, especially in a recession like no other.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:12 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:12 am
6 people like this

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> At what stage do we rebel against government intervention in our lives, particularly at the local level? [...]

>> Local CCs are not supposed to be the dictators of what we can and can't do when it comes to vices or how we cook our food.

>> Posted by Miriam Palm, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> Keep your hands off my gas appliances. What happened to freedom of choice?

Posted by Family Friendly, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> You can vote your way into socialism, but you have to shoot your way out.

etc. etc.

You folks need to quit the overwrought rhetoric. It leads some excitable people to do really nasty things. Web Link

As for your continued use of fossil fuels -- either we all phase out use of fossil fuels, or, none of your grandchildren will have grandchildren. (The world's coral reefs are dead or dying, and, that is now, not in ten years or twenty years. Web Link )

On, as for "rights" -- all rights are in natural competition with each other. Your liberty and happiness that you experience burning fossil fuels is in direct competition with the rights of others. That is why we legislate to determine where your rights end and someone else's begin.

It is time to phase out fossil fuels. Let's figure out how to do it as quickly and easily as we can.


Steve Dabrowski
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 18, 2020 at 12:40 pm
Steve Dabrowski, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 18, 2020 at 12:40 pm
27 people like this

Palo Alto and all the cities between San Jose and San Francisco could go completely dark and it wouldn't move the climate change needle a mili-micro radian. What the CC and staff need to do is quit trying to save the world and start serving the needs of the people who populate Palo Alto.

Imagine that City staff is getting paid for the hours spent on these silly projects! Vote in November if there is anyone else to vote for!


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 1:11 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 1:11 pm
8 people like this

Posted by Steve Dabrowski, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis

>> What the CC and staff need to do is quit trying to save the world and start serving the needs of the people who populate Palo Alto.

Palo Alto going fossil-fuel-free is serving my needs.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 18, 2020 at 1:48 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 18, 2020 at 1:48 pm
14 people like this

"Palo Alto going fossil-fuel-free is serving my needs."

And your needs take precedence over the needs, rights, preferences and finances of everyone else even though enacting this would have NO effect ob climate change, esp. with the Trump Administration rolling back all types of environmental protections?


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 2:36 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 2:36 pm
1 person likes this

Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland

>> And your needs take precedence over the needs, rights, preferences and finances of everyone else

We live in a "representative democracy" and all of our rights are adjudicated via legislation and courts. Some of those rights are Constitutional, others are granted via legislation. Rights are always a balancing act. As has been said (cliche' warning), “your personal liberty to swing your arm ends where my nose begins” Web Link

Anyway, my point was that the pro-burn-fossil-fuel lobby doesn't represent -me-. Because, lots of people were saying that "nobody wants this", "nobody cares". etc. Well, -some of them- want to burn more fossil fuels, but, -I- don't. There is no (Constitutional) -right- to burn fossil fuels. (There is a -right- to a jury trial.).

As for the argument, "Palo Alto is too small to make a difference" -- I disagree for two reasons.

First, "virtue is its own reward". In so many situations in life, the arithmetic seems to be against virtue, and yet, we expect every single individual to do and not do certain things. (e.g. Ten Commandmants). Indeed, "society" depends on people doing the right thing even if one instance seems insignificant.

Second, one small act of virtue can make a huge difference. It really matters that electric cars actually work and individuals have driven hundreds of thousands of miles in them. They work, they are practical, now we just need to get the cost down a little more. And, likewise, we can live with all-electric houses, and, -reduce- the overall carbon footprint of the house. We can have a whole discussion about PV grid power, pumped storage, heat-pumps, etc., but, let's just leave it at that for this thread.


Josh
Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Jun 18, 2020 at 3:12 pm
Josh, Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Jun 18, 2020 at 3:12 pm
23 people like this

This all goes back to money. PG&E is bankrupt and they charge a lot more for electric service than the gas that is readily available now with fraking. The States that do the fraking are Red states and making profits that they then support Republican Politicians with. The liberal Democrats here in California don't like that, and want to now get rid of natural gas....not for your benefit, but for theirs....and they have been telling you for years that electrich power was SOO bad for the environment!! Now they want it all electric and to take away your cheaper natural gas! What a joke!


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 3:34 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 3:34 pm
4 people like this

@Josh: If we want our families to have a future, we -must- stop burning fossil fuel. And, for most products we need, now, -we know how to do it-. Let's do it.


pestocat
University South
on Jun 18, 2020 at 3:49 pm
pestocat, University South
on Jun 18, 2020 at 3:49 pm
13 people like this

Anon, what have you done to convert to an all electric home. What steps have you taken. Remember an electric clothes dryer is actually going to produce more GHG. As mentioned 1/2 of our electricity in CA is generated from natural gas. These power plants are only about 40% efficient.


pestocat
University South
on Jun 18, 2020 at 4:13 pm
pestocat, University South
on Jun 18, 2020 at 4:13 pm
6 people like this

In 2016, the city was also trying to get rid of natural gas for water heaters, etc. I put to together a website that has all sorts of information and numbers for replacing natural gas appliances. See Web Link the city gave up at that time. But now trying again. But take a look at the website. I have not updated to the latest costs, but the arguments are the same.


musical
Palo Verde
on Jun 18, 2020 at 4:23 pm
musical, Palo Verde
on Jun 18, 2020 at 4:23 pm
8 people like this

Maximize misery and fewer people will try cramming themselves into Palo Alto.


N
Ventura
on Jun 18, 2020 at 4:35 pm
N, Ventura
on Jun 18, 2020 at 4:35 pm
15 people like this

How about some incentives, and reducing friction, rather than onerous and expensive new laws!

Our high efficiency home has three zones w/three furnaces, plus a gas water heater and large range. Replacing all of these will cost (no joke) over $100k. If PA requires electrification on home sales in 2025, we will sell in 2024 and leave town. Seriously this is an incredible and unfair burden. Our home being highly efficient uses only one of three furnaces for 1-2 hours per day during the coldest of winter, yet we'll be on the hook to pay big $$$ under some of what is being proposed. Similarly, we *like* our gas stove for cooking -- it was a big upgrade we chose, and should be free to keep doing so.

Putting this all in context - we already replaced 1-of-2 vehicles with electric, and have hopes to replace the second. We wanted to install a high-power/L2 charger, but the PA process is again far higher than neighboring towns, so are living with L1.

We want to install solar too! But the PA permitting process is so onerous that many vendors no longer sell or do installs in PA :( As a comparison, look at Google maps' satellite view and you'll see almost no solar in PA yet tons of solar in Menlo, Mountain View, Los Altos, etc. How about making it easier to install solar in PA?

Note also that we don't have time-of-use (TOU) rates like most of our neighbors, which would further encourage solar, local storage, and high energy consumption at off-peak times.

And after all that if you want to encourage reducing gas usage, how about *incentivizing* that behavior? No need to legislate, just encourage! Give a rebate for every appliance replaced, and maybe advertise a lower / eliminated "connection fee" if gas is turned off completely to a building.,


Pj
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 5:40 pm
Pj, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 5:40 pm
18 people like this

Electric appliances are bad for the enviroment, remember when we were told gas was good and all new construction HAD to have a gas fireplace? Solar is cost prohibitive and doesn't work in the stormy, cloudy wintertime or in the overcast coast....precisely why we have gas furnaces through the whole state and country. Sorry politicians no one wants to give up their clean energy gas! Even our buses use clean energy gas!


JR
Palo Verde
on Jun 18, 2020 at 6:15 pm
JR, Palo Verde
on Jun 18, 2020 at 6:15 pm
7 people like this

There are various hard-to-enforce schemes that could be used to reduce gasoline vehicle use, but the simplest and best way is to simply increase gas taxes. The price for gas is now around $3 per gallon, it should be $6 per gallon statewide. It doesn't have to be done all at once, the tax can be increased 25 cents per gallon per year over 12 years, for example. Once it's clearly cost effective to switch to a non-polluting vehicle, most people will switch.

Palo Alto will have a very hard time doing this along, taxes need to be raised at the state or national level.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 18, 2020 at 6:32 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 18, 2020 at 6:32 pm
11 people like this

"Palo Alto will have a very hard time doing this along, taxes need to be raised at the state or national level."

Yes, but our "leaders" presumably think PA is a state since they're exploring "banning registration of gasoline cars in Palo Alto by 2030" and will need a DMV to do that.

Our tax $$$$ at work.


Great ideas
Evergreen Park
on Jun 18, 2020 at 9:27 pm
Great ideas, Evergreen Park
on Jun 18, 2020 at 9:27 pm
4 people like this

The City has some great ideas. I am glad they are taking this seriously and thinking of both aggressive and less aggressive actions.

I am glad that they are thinking so much about transportation, which is where the majority of our emissions are. By all means, tax gas-powered cars (yes, I have one), phase out sales, and build (or require) chargers everywhere. We need big incentives and disincentives to accelerate the switch.

For heating I like the idea of requiring upgrades on sale and hope we do that. (And, yes, we own a house.)

Thank you to the city staff and council for taking this seriously and for figuring out how to do our part.


musical
Palo Verde
on Jun 19, 2020 at 1:13 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Jun 19, 2020 at 1:13 am
1 person likes this

Does California electric car tax go up another $100 on July 1?


Anon1
Menlo Park
on Jun 19, 2020 at 6:51 am
Anon1, Menlo Park
on Jun 19, 2020 at 6:51 am
1 person likes this

> Since 2016, its emissions have remained stubbornly flat at slightly below 500,000 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

These numbers are wrong. World-wide annual emissions are only 36,000 megatons.


pestocat
University South
on Jun 19, 2020 at 9:56 am
pestocat, University South
on Jun 19, 2020 at 9:56 am
15 people like this

Comparing Electricity and Natural Gas Prices on Your Utility Bill.
The first thing to do is convert the gas Therms unit to KWHs. One Therm is equivalent to 29.2 KWHs. Then just divide the natural gas bill amount by the value you just multiplied. As an example for me, in May I used 14.7 Therms or 14.7 x 29.2 =429.2 KWH. My cost was $26.33. So cost of natural gas was $0.061/ KWH. For electricity I used 919 KWH and cost was 157.89. Electricity was $0.172/ KWH. So in May electricity cost about 3 times more on an energy basis. I checked my January bill where I used more natural gas and cost was $0.041/KWH.


I forget
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 20, 2020 at 11:27 am
I forget, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 20, 2020 at 11:27 am
Like this comment

Y'all can have natural gas leaking out and giving you cancer in your house that you want. I'm going to focus on the much more important and pertinent issue of air pollution outside of your houses which I have to breathe

Did you know that car exhaust causes cancer, heart disease, and dementia?
Are you aware that exhaust combines with saturated fat in your arteries to form super globules?
Have you read that children walking to school on suburban streets grow up with stunted lungs?

Web Link
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link


"According to a recent Lancet commission on pollution and health, pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today, responsible for an estimated 16% of all deaths worldwide and associated with a much wider range of disease than was previously thought"

So I was wondering, does anyone know ANYBODY who might be affected by Alzheimers, a stroke or heart attack, or cancer? Also migraines and Asthma

The only reason people don't see car exhaust as a threat is that they don't SEE it. Turn on your soldier killing gas guzzler sometime in the morning when the fog rolls over and you'll see how much poison gas it's shooting out the back of it.


common sense
Midtown
on Jun 20, 2020 at 12:07 pm
common sense, Midtown
on Jun 20, 2020 at 12:07 pm
12 people like this

According to this proposal of Cormack, anyone living outside of Palo Alto can own a gas car, and drive the car in Palo Alto. But if you are a resident, you cannot own a gas car. Does anyone see the irony of Cormack's proposal?


pestocat
University South
on Jun 20, 2020 at 1:49 pm
pestocat, University South
on Jun 20, 2020 at 1:49 pm
1 person likes this

"I forget".
What have you done with your gas appliances. Have you converted your gas water heater to a heat pump? What else? What is your experience?


PowerLineReliability?
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 20, 2020 at 4:33 pm
PowerLineReliability?, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 20, 2020 at 4:33 pm
11 people like this

For the 37 years I've lived in my house, the natural gas supply in Palo Alto has never gone out of service except when it's been shut off on purpose for maintenance/construction affecting the line (very short outages) or after an earthquake ( longer outage). On the other hand, my electric power goes much more frequently because tree branches or mylar balloons disturb overhead lines, a pole-mounted transformer blows up, or a car crashes into the support pole.

But even more fundamentally, Palo Alto is fed by a SINGLE, highly vulnerable overhead main power line that crosses the SF Bay parallel to the Dumbarton Bridge. This line is supported by fragile (and elderly) self-supporting towers that can be easily brought down by accident (e.g. small airplane crashed into the line in February 2010) or malice (e.g. sophisticated sniper attack in Metcalf Power Station in San Jose in San Jose).

While the environmental and/or economic advantages of going all-electric are certain worthy of discussion, it is not debatable that our utilities must be highly reliable.

Unfortunately, in Palo Alto electricity distribution is not as reliable as natural gas. So going all-electric shouldn't happen until electric power distribution system reliability is improved. This means hardening the local distribution lines, doing more tree trimming in areas serviced by overhead lines, and installing a secondary main line so that Palo Alto has at least two main feeds. Having a single point of failure for Palo Alto's main feed is unwise.


Resident123
Fairmeadow
on Jun 21, 2020 at 1:59 pm
Resident123, Fairmeadow
on Jun 21, 2020 at 1:59 pm
2 people like this

I don't understand the concern about power reliability. When the power goes out I notice it because the lights don't work, or my alarm clock. It's a nuisance. On top of that, would I notice if my water heater went out? No. The water would stay warm enough for most outages. On top of that, would I notice if my heat went out? Depends if the outage was in mid-winter. Then, yes, I'd notice it. But I could also live with it if it happened rarely. Is it EV charging? Our range is big enough, so not a problem.

What are people so worried about? If it's not heat and it's not EVs, then by all means keep allowing gas stoves if people are worried about...


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2020 at 12:28 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2020 at 12:28 pm
9 people like this

Once again, our unreliable power went out today. This is Monday, June 22, sunny and no wind, and a branch fell on a wire and power went out.

With people working from home and very reliant on electricity, this is not acceptable. Without gas appliances people can't cook, heat water, etc.

No point in saying more.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 23, 2020 at 11:58 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 23, 2020 at 11:58 am
2 people like this

I don't get this. The "city" dictates the power supply and has a gas meter to bill usage. If that is part of the cities financial picture and breakdown of how the city is run then why isn't the city proposing a change to the way they do business? People are getting hung up on the fate of PG&E which to my knowledge is not a player in the PA utilities system. We do not pay PG&E. I believe that PA buys gas but then manages that gas within their own systems. We pay PA Utilities. Ultimately they are the owner of the systems and have to be able to provide info to users as to what the options ae.


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