As President of Utility Workers Union of America Local 132, representing more than 3,500 employees of Southern California Gas Company, I wanted to share our union’s position on the electrification of buildings, and commit to partnering with local public officials to find solutions to reduce our carbon footprint.
Building de-carbonization is not the same thing as building electrification. UWUA 132 members fully support de-carbonization; we do not support mandated building electrification. As essential workers who go into homes every day to keep them safe and warm, we see the LA-area housing shortage as a significant immediate crisis for LA residents. Electrification is more costly than modernizing gas end-uses over both the short-run and the long-run and poses significant barriers to addressing the housing crisis.
Reducing building-related emissions through a combination of fixing gas leaks, replacing older gas appliances with state-of-the-art gas appliances, using electronic ignitions, and blending hydrogen in delivered gas fuels is a much more effective multi-pronged approach than the so-called REACH ordinances that seek to ban the use of gas for heating and water heating.
UWUA Local 132 would like to partner with local public officials to find solutions that don’t kill middle class jobs and make housing more unaffordable. Some policy proposals we strongly suggest are:
- Reducing fugitive methane and CO2 emissions through carbon capture and storage/re-use;
- reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (thousands of times more potent than CO2) that are used by heat pumps and are the fastest-growing GHGs in California; and
- reducing transportation-related emissions through rapid scaling of electric passenger and light-duty vehicles are also low-hanging fruit for GHG emission reduction that UWUA 132 fully supports.
We are looking forward to working with our local public officials to find short- and long-term solutions to reduce the carbon footprint.