The Year in Review 2019: San Francisco’s Grassroots Campaign for Rapid and Equitable Building Decarbonization
This post originally appeared on the SF Gas Ban campaign site.
This website was launched as part of a grassroots movement to push San Francisco’s elected officials to ban natural gas in all new San Francisco buildings and to enact legislation to see that all existing buildings are equitably and justly retrofitted to run on low-carbon electricity. These demands are born out of the necessity of confronting gross inaction in the face of a spiraling human-caused climate crisis. Buildings represent a significant share of local, state and national greenhouse emissions gases.
2019 was a landmark year for the building decarbonization movement in California and beyond. For example:
As encouraging as these developments were, the sobering reality of climate science commands much more aggressive action on buildings and other sectors at the local, state, national and international levels. Nevertheless, in 2019, the City of San Francisco could not even manage to make the most painfully incremental and inadequate progress on new buildings:
Despite the false starts and disappointments, without the campaign waged by San Francisco building decarbonization advocates for nearly a year, the vaguest promises of a natural gas ban or an electric-ready amendment to the reach code would likely not be on the table. Incremental as they are, these are important victories in light of the surprisingly difficult political landscape in “progressive” San Francisco, and if nothing else are evidence of this movement’s growing strength. While it was always clear that the array of powerful forces aligned against the building decarbonization imperative would be fiercer in the gilded city of San Francisco, it was and continues to be a fight worth having, precisely because if we can win here, we can win anywhere. Our very existence depends on winning.