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LA Times Trips Over Themselves Praising SF Area's Not Even Adopted Gas Phaseout Plans
Beyond Objectivity, seems to be going as planned at the newspaper for the nation’s second largest city. While the decision isn’t actually official yet, the LA Times Editorial Board, who we’ve poked at here numerous times, are already praising what will likely approved soon: a ban on* natural gas appliances in the San Francisco Bay Area.
It’s already “making Climate Change history” the title of the piece gushingly notes.
The entity that will be voting to approve or disapprove of any such noble achievements is the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQD) which has jurisdiction over Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo and parts of Santa Clara and Solano Counties. We’re unable to find out exactly how many people are covered by the BAAQD but then again air pollution doesn’t exactly respect political boundaries either. But roughly speaking, we’d estimate it’s roughly 8 million people in or around the Bay Area. This context is missing from the Editorial Board’s praise piece but nonetheless would have strengthened their argument.
So why is this such an achievement worth praising then according to the LA Times?
The Board notes that the state’s air regulator, CARB, while “adopting plans” to phase out the sales of gas furnaces and water heaters last year hasn’t actually set any “rules,” such won’t happen for another few years and the phase out itself is supposed to start at the dawn of the upcoming decade. South Coast Air Quality Management District, who have jurisdiction over most of Southern California including Los Angeles, have yet to do anything similar the Board also mentions.
They have however completely leave out the mosaic of bans in various California cities including ones in the Bay Area, or their own. Then there’s San Diego to the South which is among the strictest in the country likely only behind Ithaca NY. Both cities’ policies actually have legal teeth however and “do more” than BAAQD’s not-even-voted-on-yet plan.
Hilariously, BAAQD not-even-voted-on-yet plan would not apply to clothes dryers or the notoriously dangerous (sarcasm) gas stoves- the item which recently caused a large culture war uproar but whose risks were catastrophized by a junk study put out by shady special interest groups.
That doesn’t stop the Editorial Board from lecturing the readers a bit about natural gas appliance pollution from buildings though. Right after informing us the rules wouldn’t apply to dryers and stoves, they inform us that all gas appliances in the state, yes all, “generate up to four times as much smog-producing pollution as the state’s power plants.” We wonder if the source for that claim or the LA Times bothered to consider whether all the nearly secret additional diesel generation added to the state over the past few years was included in that mix.
They further tell us that the BAAQD‘s phaseout “is expected to slash more than 3000 tons of NO (only one type of NOX), and prevent 85 deaths, thousands of asthma attacks and lost school and work days annually.” No source provided for that one. Likely anticipating thinking people would read the piece, the Board mentions this plan contains “serious barriers and equity concerns,” they call on the same ineffective bureaucratic class to “work hard,” believing it will be an even more difficult task than the entire state’s transition from ICEVs to EVs.
The Board surprisingly brings up the fact that up front cost of such conversations will be a challenge. The purchase price of heat pumps currently cost more than gas furnaces any search at a retailer will note but also acknowledged by the Board. They provide figures from BAAQD as if inflation isn’t a thing or that supply and demand is missing from their fantasy world. They insist “cost savings” such as bill credits from electric utilities or tax credits from programs such as the not Orwellian named Inflation Reduction Act will be available to lessen the blow. Where the money for such programs comes from is, as always, left out.
They cite SPUR who insists that a “low-income-single-family household,” which let’s be clear in the SF Bay Area is a large number of people these days, would “save” upwards of $8000 up front if they replaced their furnaces and water heaters. Again- with subsidies which hide true pricing signals and distort markets. Missing is how those in multifamily units would pull any of this or renters in general.
They basically tell the everyone else: businesses, manufacturers, and specifically the construction industry, to suck it up with any relative concerns such as the availability of heat pumps (we heard they grow on trees) and little road blocks such as retrofitting old homes and buildings to fit such equipment. Never mind the labor force who would be required to be available to install them.
We can tell that the Editorial Board doesn’t live under a rock (or tent on the street). They acknowledge too that appliance replacements tend to be unexpected - as in they break and require immediate replacement. They even understand the electricity magic of 120 and 240v sockets and the need to either rewire a home to accommodate these contraptions or the need for the heat pump trees to sprout fruits that work on 120v. Typically for any “like for like” replacement of an appliance, as in same fuel source, a home or building typically needs to be brought up to current code. That “gotcha” which adds extra cost is missing from their piece.
The board sputters to a close with another acknowledgement - that oops, the legacy appliances last a long time, change would take “decades” but “it’s coming.
This is only the beginning,” they write.
Astonishingly enough the Editorial Board, who has virtually no word limit when writing a piece, fails to actually state how any of this is likely to mitigate climate change.
NOX are indeed an issue - as local and regional air quality issues. But the Board and the Green Elites conveniently leave out the fact that water heaters and furnaces vent outside unlike, say gas stoves in some homes which makes the indoor air pollution claims weak. These appliances also don’t run 24/7/365 either.
As typical with articles that scare us with NOX, we’re left with no context as to how much of the stuff one has to be exposed to in a given time period to experience any negative effects. We’re also not informed either of whether any NOX compound has a greenhouse warming effect.
Missing too is the any impact on the state’s electricity grid including additional loads, reliability, generation sources, and costs to the end user.
The LA Times and most of the establishment Corporate Press outlets in the state, because they play the role as Prvda, not real newspapers, have let many inconvenient truths about living in the state under their rug. Increasing crime, homelessness, open-air drug scents, drug overdoses, and failing schools for example. Californians of virtually all identities, not just the ones currently placed on a pedestal for political and virtuous gain, are likely in some way or another to fall under the spell of “progress.”
Absent is the fact too that natural gas is a fossil fuel, or that the main byproduct of its combustion is carbon dioxide - the real demon substance associated with worsening climate change. If the piece is seriously trying to argue for anything related to “making Climate Change history,” it’s this.
Climate change is a global issue too though. The SF Bay Area’s population comprises roughly a few percent of the entire US population and a a rounding error of the entire world population. While it’s likely true that many in the area could be said to contribute more to climate change (definitions of such a feat are typically utterly subjective) more than most of the world’s population, the fact is many places are either “contributing to climate change” by making our stuff and trying to develop and become more prosperous themselves.
Narcissism and grandiosity are features, not bugs, of the climate subset and the Woke religion as a whole. Nobody is helping save the world by biking to work, using OPM and the money printer to front for an EV or heat pump or the smorgasbord of other Noble Things that will make Gaia happy. Mao’s backyard furnaces failed as do “virtual power plants” in terms of any meaningful electricity production. But it’s no surprise that the LA Times is cheering such “achievements” by Bay Area busybodies, which haven’t even happened yet, as anything remotely recognizing.