Environment /

California To Ban New Natural Gas-Powered Space, Water Heaters By 2030

The CARB Initiative Follows The State's Plan To Eliminate New Gas-Powered Cars And Trucks By 2035

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has approved an initiative that will ban the sale of new natural-gas powered space and water heaters in the state by 2030, according to a Thursday statement.

The initiative lays out a strategy for meeting federal smog requirements which are reportedly 70 parts per billion, 8-hour ozone standard over the next 15 years. CARB’S plan builds on previously established initiatives and seeks to reduce pollutants emitted through consumer products by implementing measures on zero-emissions space and water heaters.

“The fuels we use and burn in buildings, primarily natural gas, for space and water heating contribute significantly to building-related criteria pollutant and GHG emissions and provide an opportunity for substantial emissions reductions where zero-emission technology is available … Beginning in 2030, 100 percent of sales of new space heaters and water heaters would need to comply with the emission standard,” reads the 2022 State Implementation Plan.

“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 CARB Chair Liane Randolph in the statement.

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. But to truly meet the ozone standard, California needs more federal action to clean up harmful diesel pollution from primarily federally controlled sources, from locomotives and ocean-going vessels to aircraft, which are all concentrated in communities that continue to bear the brunt of poor air quality. We simply cannot provide clean air to Californians without the federal government doing its part.

Twenty-one million Californians live in areas that exceed the 70 ppb ozone standard, according to the statement. Areas in need of emission reduction include South Coast Air Basin, San Joaquin Valley, Ventura County, Eastern Kern County, the Sacramento metropolitan area, Western Mojave Desert and Coachella Valley, however the South Coast Air Basin and the San Joaquin Valley are in a “non-attainment” designated area.

In late August CARB enacted the Advanced Clean Cars II Regulations which requires all new car and truck sales to be zero-emissions — effectively banning the sale of new gas-powered automobiles after 2035.

“Once again California is leading the nation and the world with a regulation that sets ambitious but achievable targets for ZEV sales. Rapidly accelerating the number of ZEVs on our roads and highways will deliver substantial emission and pollution reductions to all Californians, especially for those who live near roadways and suffer from persistent air pollution,” Randolph said about the previous initiative. “The regulation includes ground-breaking strategies to bring ZEVs to more communities and is supported by the Governor’s ZEV budget which provides incentives to make ZEVs available to the widest number of economic groups in California, including low- and moderate-income consumers.”

CARB’s gas-powered car initiative follows a 2020 executive order by Californian Governor Gavin Newsom requiring all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 along with additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” said Newsom. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”

Editor’s Note: The title and opening paragraph of the original version of this article did not include the qualifying phrase “New Natural Gas-Powered” in reference to space and water heaters. In order to provide further clarity, the author has added a new third paragraph that did not appear in the original version of the article. 

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