"This is just the beginning". Yes, it is


Wowed by a convincing demonstration of a yummy fondue of chocolate-dipped strawberries prepared on an induction plate, Berkeley City Council unanimously votes to ban natural gas in new construction and go 100% electric.

California Energy Commission Chairman David Hochschild, who has lived in Berkeley for nearly a decade, told officials he was very much in favor of the ordinance. He said it would be yet another chance for Berkeley to lead the way, as it had done with laws banning smoking and supporting marriage equality, curb cuts and recycling, among other policies.

“You see those changes go to other cities, then go up to the state level and then go to the national level,” Hochschild said. “That’s how change happens.”

Hochschild said California has a state mandate in place to get to 100% clean energy by 2045. Electrification is the next step in that endeavor, he said. Fifty other cities in the state are “actively considering” legislation related to phasing out natural gas, he told council, “but Berkeley’s the first, thanks to you.”

Mayor Jesse Arreguín picked up on that theme during his comments in support of the new law: “Ideas start here and movements are born here,” he said, of Berkeley. Phasing out natural gas is a necessary action, he added, “not some radical pie-in-the-sky idea.”

Arreguín credited Councilwoman Davila for her resolution in 2018 to declare a climate emergency * in Berkeley. He said that helped set the stage for Tuesday night’s electrification ordinance.

In her remarks, Davila said it was her son who motivated her to put forward last year’s climate emergency resolution: “This is exactly what we wanted and dreamed and hoped for,” she said. “This is just the beginning.”

* nee global warming, nee climate change

Connecticut has already joined New York, New Hampshire and Maine in banning all new construction of natural gas pipelines and power facilities, but don’t worry, because windmills. Uh huh. (Asked if the cancellation of these natural gas pipeline proposals in Connecticut would result in higher energy costs for state consumers, [Connecticut D.P.U. Commissioner] Dykes replied: "I don't have a crystal ball." Uh huh again.)

Here’s an interesting point: Russia counts on oil and gas for 60% of its exports and 30% of its GDP. When prices drop, Russia gets clobbered.

The effect of the 2014 oil price collapse on Russia's economy was fast and devastating. Between June and December 2014, the Russian ruble declined in value by 59% relative to the U.S. dollar. At the beginning of 2015, Russia, along with neighboring Ukraine, had the lowest purchasing power parity (PPP) relative to the U.S. of any country in the world. Declining PPP lowers living standards, as goods purchased using the home currency become more expensive than they should be. Moreover, Russia receives less economic benefit from lower pump prices than the U.S. does, as Russians consume much less oil and gas than Americans. Less than 30% of Russia's oil production is retained for domestic use, while the remainder is exported.

Oil prices also affect imports for Russia, as was seen in 2014. Because the country is a net importer of goods like soybeans and rubber, the sharp increase in import prices caused by a falling ruble touched off major inflation, which the Russian government attempted to tamp down by raising interest rates as high as 17%.

The Leftists claim to be convinced that Russia interfered with our recent election by spending $175,000 on Facebook ads, yet angrily dismiss the very idea that that same country would seek to preserve its economy and Putin’s rule by encouraging, even leading, movements to protect the price of oil. Stopping fracking and pipeline projects are excellent ways to do that, especially when there’s a huge, ready supply of useful idiots populating the U.S. and Western Europe.

But no, Russia would never conspire against us with anyone but Orange Man.

Uh huh.