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News

OVN EDITORIAL on OPINION page: Climate over-REACH

The all-electric building reach code that the Ojai City Council’s handpicked climate committee brought to the council Tuesday was authored by a Santa Rosa consultant. The reach code proposal to ban natural gas in all-new construction has been adopted by less than 1% of other California cities. It is considered to be a “symbolic gesture” by the climate committee and by the council, as the codes are expected to affect no more than one home per year.
Without regard for residents, an onslaught of dubious “facts,” and electrification as its single focus, the climate committee proposed recommendations that will result in “cost-of-living creep” for Ojai residents.
Ojai has declared a state of emergency concerning climate change. Below are some suggestions for the climate committee and City Council from the Ojai Valley News that go beyond a symbolic gesture:
    1. Identify and rank Ojai’s greatest sources of emissions, create strategies for each to reduce local consumption, and promote carbon drawdown.
    2. Create a data-driven cost/benefit analysis of operating electric vs. gas appliances, to our scale, and develop programs to educate the public.
    3. Create building program incentives to encourage green construction for new and remodeled buildings.
    4. Work with solar companies and partner with Ojai Unified School District and the city to get a no-cost solar system installed for school district and municipal buildings.
    5. Partner with the city to create incentives for homeowners to switch to electric.
    6. Address the issue of food waste (high-methane emissions) and work with E.J. Harrison to set up citywide composting, such as San Francisco has done.
    7. Work with E.J. Harrison to offer a second blue bin, or pick up twice weekly.
    8. Provide evaluation and suggestions to local businesses to reduce waste, even during the pandemic, and support efforts to get rid of plastic (encouraging bring-your-own utensil use, etc.).
    9. Meet with businesses individually to assess and suggest ways they can reduce emissions.
10.  Actively support city code enforcement to eliminate the use of polluting two-stroke engines (e.g., gas-powered lawn tools) and work with county government to stop such use in the Ojai area (1 million pounds of carbon is real savings for the Ojai Valley).
11. Create programs that support the conversion to electric tools for those who cannot afford them by creating partnerships with local sellers.
12. Provide analysis on the carbon savings the city would achieve from banning wood-burning fires.
13. Develop and provide educational seminars for local farmers to convert to regenerative farming.
14. Partner with the city, farmers, restaurants, and grocers to devise strategies to increase the purchase of locally grown foods and movement toward plant-based diets.

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