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  • Susan Russell

Climate Smart Communities Should Not Stand in the Way of Stopping Climate Change

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

ACES applauds the recent decision by the town and village boards to not introduce a vote on the recent resolution opposing elements of NY State’s Climate Action Plan.

To meet NYS’s decarbonization goals, we need to start today. The power grid will be getting substantial upgrades under the Climate Law, but is already adequate for electrification of heating, cooling, cooking and transportation.

There are tax incentives offered through the state and federal government to assist home owners and businesses in making this gradual transition to an all-electric future. As technology of electric vehicles, batteries, heat pumps, induction stoves, etc. advances and market demand increases, the cost of these products will decline – this is how the US market works.

Opinion pieces and interviews from NOCO and National Fuel executives in the Buffalo News and other local outlets have been describing how disastrous it would be to move away from heating oil and natural gas for heating your homes. Call it self- serving, but they also double down on their claims with a lot of fear mongering over the “immediate” conversion costs to consumers, complete with hugely inflated numbers and ignoring available rebates and tax credits.

The following answers many of the common misconceptions spread about the transition to zero-emissions for home energy use:

• No one is coming to take anyone’s stove, furnace, or water heater away now or at any time. There will be a gradual transition starting with new homes and over many years, gas equipment will be replaced by higher efficiency zero emissions appliances at very substantial operational cost savings.

• 12 years from now, NEW gas stoves will not be sold in NYS but anyone can keep theirs as long as they want to. Replacing the stove will happen when it doesn’t work well, or the home owner chooses to, just as they do today.

• The replacement for the gas boiler or furnace are cold climate heat pumps that work well in below zero temperatures. People in the Adirondacks, Scandinavia, and Maine (areas much colder than WNY) are adopting them.

Electric heat does not mean old- fashioned glowing resistance space heaters or the inefficient electric baseboard heat found in some ’60s and ’70’s homes. Geothermal and air-sourced heat pumps are proven technology. Also, they provide air conditioning at much reduced operating costs than a standard A/C unit. Remember, our summers are getting hotter.

• The cooking replacement for a gas stove will not be the old glowing-coil electric stoves of our grandparents or even the smooth-top electric ranges that have the same hidden slow-to-heat and slow-to-cool coils that serious cooks avoid. They are induction ranges that work magnetically, instant-on, instant-off, safe. Professional chefs love them as there’s less waiting for the pan to heat, accurate control over temperature.They also can have battery back-ups for cooking in power outages.

• Emergency generators would not be prohibited under the new law. If they are in non-gas buildings they can be installed to run on propane, like a grill. Home battery storage will be the future solution to blackouts.

We’re proud that our town and village have taken the Climate Smart Community Pledge. At this critical fork in the road, Climate Smart Communities should not stand in the way of stopping climate change. NOW is the time for positive solutions and cooperation.

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