Gas appliances in California homes and buildings generate four times as much lung-damaging nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution as the state's gas power plants, and roughly two thirds as much NOx as all of the state’s passenger cars. To meet federal air quality standards that protect health, air quality regulators in California must phase out the sale of gas appliances and implement equity-centered implementation plans for transitioning homes to electric alternatives like heat pumps – which produce no onsite air pollution.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed by President Biden last month, is the largest ever federal investment in fighting climate change. While we as Americans should be taking a victory lap for this momentous achievement, we should not for one moment think that the investments in the IRA are alone sufficient to tackle climate change. To win this generation’s greatest fight, we will need major continued investments at the federal, state and local levels. That’s why SPUR is supporting Prop. 30, a measure which would make historic investments in fighting climate change — investments that pay off in the form of fuel cost savings and avoided premature deaths, asthma attacks and cleaner air.
Over the last 100 years, Denmark has taken structural and local policy implementation approaches to housing that have much to teach the Bay Area. We got to meet leaders in government, architecture, housing and sustainability who shared their insights and fielded our group’s many questions about how the city renewed its urban core without demolition and how it builds two types of housing that we don’t have: social housing and housing co-ops.
Bicycles and bicyclists are among the first things you notice when you arrive in Copenhagen — there’s an endless sea of bikes parked at every major train station plaza and lined up along every building. Though our region has a long way to go, Bay Area cities can take relevant lessons — and inspiration — from Copenhagen’s bicycle planning history, its pragmatic approach and its regional aspirations.
Comparing 2022 Copenhagen to the Bay Area of 2022 is like comparing apples to oranges. Aside from a few one-offs, most projects in Copenhagen would not be easily transferable to the Bay Area at scale due to foundational differences in the way our governments operate, from the national level on down. What would be more transferable would be to apply the lessons learned in the 1990s-era Copenhagen to the Bay Area in 2022.