Reach Codes in Redwood City

Tomorrow, September 14th, the Redwood City Council will consider all-electric reach codes after months of delays. In light of this finally coming before council, we’re posting another past comment on reach codes from one of our FFMP members.

The following statement was originally made by Laurel Bergman on December 9, 2019. At the time, Ian Bain was Mayor of Redwood City.

Good evening, Mayor Bain, Vice Mayor Howard and council members. My name is Laurel Bergman and I’m a Redwood City homeowner for over 26 years.  I want to thank you for your ongoing hard work and commitment to our community. I also have some concerns.

Front doors and sign, surrounded by pink cherry blossoms, of city hall in Redwood City, California.
City Hall in Redwood City

The Council apparently decided to postpone final discussion and voting on Reach Codes until 2020. I’m not sure why, but I know the need for taking immediate action to reduce greenhouse gases becomes more clear every day. This last week a report from the World Meteorological Org, a UN Agency, told us that “this decade is almost certain to have been the warmest in recorded history” and that we’re heading for a temperature increase of three degrees Celsius by the end of the century. That increase affects sea level rise, which will impact Redwood City.

What must we do locally to disrupt this devastating trend? We have many options for action. For example, most homes and businesses still use methane (also called “natural” gas). Buildings account for about 39% of CO2 emissions from burning natural gas; so moving from gas to electricity in buildings is one of our best options.

Changing the building code requirements for electrification of new construction is a significant start.  We must not delay further. Cities can and must adopt ambitious reach codes—codes that reach beyond basic requirements—ASAP.  It is said that nothing is constant but change. My own life experience tells me that another constant is our own resistance to it.  But in this case, we really don’t have time. Please take action quickly.

Thank you, and thanks to Fossil Free Mid-Peninsula for educating me in these matters.

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