Slowly transforming the city residences from a reliance on gas appliances to fully electric ones makes sense if you agree that we have a climate change problem that needs to be fixed. In the long run, it will be a lot cheaper to start adapting our residences and businesses now, rather than waiting until the impact of climate change creates an emergency that must be addressed very quickly and at an enormous cost.

It is not more expensive to build a new residence with electric home and water heating, cooking, and drying compared to one with gas. When your current gas device needs replacing, in many cases that will not be much more expensive to switch to electricity, although some residences may need to upgrade their electrical system.

The proposed ordinance gives us 24 years to phase this in. The extra cost is not excessive, providing you accept that climate change is caused by us, and the cost to fix it needs to be covered by us. The change is coming! The sooner we start adapting our residences, the cheaper it will be for us to adapt to climate change in the long run.

There are two primary reasons for us to phase out the use of natural gas over the next 40 years or so. The first is that burning gas, or any fossil fuel, creates CO2 that is well understood to be the largest contributor to our warming planet. The second reason is that methane (the primary component of natural gas) is also a significant contributor to global warming. Although we try to burn most of it, the entire process from well-head to the end user has leaks in it. The industry is trying to stop the leaks, but it will never be zero unless we quit using the gas, or at least cut its use way back.

The world has never before experienced something anywhere close to the climate change we are beginning to experience during our lifetimes. It is also clear that it will get a lot worse than what we’re seeing now and it will impact the lives of many people all around the world.

The current meeting in Glasgow with representatives from all over the world is an attempt to obtain agreements from all countries to set goals now that will lead to a tolerable world in 40 years when today’s children will be grown up. We here in Half Moon Bay can start doing our part now by electrifying.

Dave Powell is a retired engineering professor and Half Moon Bay resident.

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