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California regulators voted unanimously last week to develop new rules that would effectively ban the sale of natural gas-powered heating and hot water systems, a first-in-the-nation commitment. The California Air Resources Board, or CARB, an agency that oversees the state’s climate targets and regulates pollution, passed the measure on Thursday as part of a larger plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions and comply with federal air quality targets.

Beginning in 2030, homeowners in California looking to replace their furnace or hot-water heater will only be able to purchase zero-emission appliances. Regulators expect this to primarily mean a switch to heat pumps — very efficient electric devices that can both heat and cool homes — as well as heat pump water heaters. 

It will be the first legal mandate in the country designed to purge natural gas from existing buildings — in contrast with past policies aimed at stopping new developments from using the fuel. 

“We are celebrating this historic win as California becomes the first state to end the sale of polluting fossil fuel appliances,” said Leah Louise-Prescott, a senior associate at the clean... Read more

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