OC Cities Can Protect the Climate and Our Health at the Same Time (Op-ed)

Published on March 22, 2023

Op-ed featured in the Voice of OC written by Nathan Taft, Senior SAFE Cities Campaigner, and Alexis Hernandez, Orange County Climate Equity Organizer and Advocate with Climate Action Campaign

In January, Climate Action Campaign (CAC) released Orange County’s first-ever Climate Action Plan report card for OC cities, providing an assessment of climate planning by OC cities and an easy-to-use tool for advocates and cities who want a climate safe future. One thing the report card made abundantly clear is that Orange County and all of its cities are failing – badly.

The county doesn’t have a clear strategy on how to reduce emissions, nor do 28 of our 34 cities. And of the six that do have Climate Action Plans, none of them received a score above 40% from CAC. Yikes.

At the same time, the general public is learning that the health risks of gas stoves are as bad as secondhand smoke, causing 1 in 8 cases of childhood asthma.

Fortunately, there’s a tried and true solution right in front of us that reduces both emissions and health risks – building electrification. Buildings account for a whopping 60 to 80% of emissions in North American cities, and policies that ensure new buildings are all electric and help retrofit old ones will go a long way toward reducing that number. At the same time, getting gas out of buildings improves indoor air quality and protects our health.

Read the full Op-ed on Voice of OC’s website

To learn more about SAFE Cities work on building electrification policies, head here. Or, if you’re ready to join the SAFE Cities movement that is phasing out fossil fuels and fast tracking clean energy at the local level, you can get involved here.