“Decarb efforts” have been gaining traction in California for decades. Throughout the years, California’s decarbonization efforts have transpired via numerous legislative bills, rulemaking proceedings, local ordinances, etc. At the state level in California, in addition to regulations, legislation like SB 100, SB 1477, and SB 350 are all related to decarbonizing California, with SB 100 serving as the backbone. Multiple regulatory proceedings have been established to set carbon reduction goals, determine reallocation of funding to achieve these goals, and ensure that localities can set their own goals. The state agencies often hold “joint agency workshops” or departmental discussions where they lay out these goals and a timeline for moving towards clean energy and electrification.
Locally, many cities and towns have been adopting or considering reach codes, often recommended and rubberstamped by the CEC. If adoption of these reach codes continues to be streamlined and if consumers are left uninformed, then these codes will significantly impact the goal of balanced energy solutions. State legislative and regulatory processes can be lengthy. However, reach codes are different. On a local level, 100% clean energy efforts can be achieved much faster than on the state level. The city of Berkeley streamlined their local process, and as of January 1, 2020, was the first city in the United States to ban the use of natural gas in new low-rise buildings. Some localities are closely following Berkeley’s lead, and another 70+ cities are considering reach codes aimed toward promoting electricity and reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, or GHGs. If electric reach codes are adopted in enough localities throughout the state, statewide legislation may reflect the public opinion surrounding reach codes sooner than we anticipate.
Throughout the nation, these efforts have seen traction in states like Michigan, Massachusetts, New York, and others. During the 2020 legislative session, PHTA saw an increased number of states setting “carbon emissions reduction goals,” as well as regulatory efforts with the same goal. Most states have not introduced drastic natural-gas-slashing policy like California but have still set targets for emissions goals over the next 20–30 years. PHTA, as well as other associations and organizations we are working with that have become involved in these efforts, stand for balanced energy solutions. These balanced solutions can be achieved by incorporating renewable energy sources, electric utilities, and natural gas. Climate change and policy is an important issue that should be recognized. However, the California approach to reducing carbon emissions will cause massive implications for so many, including swimming pool and spa industry professionals and consumers.
PHTA is tracking state and local efforts on this subject, finding there are not only efforts to follow California, but also to prevent such policies from making their way into another state. Further, PHTA and CPSA joined their decarbonization coalitions this year to combat overreaching efforts by local and state governments to ban the use of natural gas in homes across the United States. The combined coalition is comprised of business leaders within the pool and hot tub industry, in addition to PHTA and CPSA working with national and California associations to ensure that natural gas remains an option for Americans to utilize within their homes.