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Policy

This past week automakers, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW and Volvo in conjunction with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), finalized a pact to strengthen emissions and improve fuel economy in California and 13 other states. The pact aims to improve fuel economy from 28 mpg to 51 mpg by the year 2026. The decision comes as automakers recognize the need for stringent environmental protections, whereas the current administration is inflexible, shifting away from environmental protections.

In 2018, there were 15 million vehicles registered in the golden state and 887,000 new vehicles sold. At this point, California still retained the authority via The Clean Air Act, to create their own emissions standards. When The Clean Air Act passed, California was already adopting its own set of innovative rules to combat air pollution. Congress acknowledged this, and made an exemption that allowed California to carve out their own rules, as long as the laws protected public health, and were stricter than federal law. In order to implement such laws, California would need to seek a waiver issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. The latest waiver was obtained in 2013, under the Obama Administration.

In 2019, President Trump revoked California’s authority to set their own standards, derailing years of progress centered around environmental clean-up. His reasoning for the revocation, was a uniformed set of national fuel economy standards. When the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Rule (SAFE) passed in March of this year, it rolled back the Obama era policy requiring automakers to improve fuel efficiency in new vehicle models by 5% every year and slash it to a mere 1.5%. The current administration was adamant that their new standard would create more jobs, allow automakers more flexibility, and make vehicles affordable for the masses. They failed to acknowledge that their new rule would allow 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide to be omitted into the air by 2026.

Analysis

The current administration continues to rollback environmental policies, broadcasting climate change a hoax. CARB has worked tirelessly alongside automakers, and have a common goal; protect Californian’s and their environment from raging wildfires, scorching temperatures, and unpredictable weather patterns attributed to climate change.

Their initiatives include cutting back on greenhouse gases, tailpipe pollutants, protecting public health, and lowering diseases attributed to climate change. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington are expected to follow suit; recognizing eco- friendly responsibilities, while shaming the Trump Administration, for their ignorance when it comes to environmental issues.

Trump has already tried to dismantle this agreement, by launching an antitrust investigation in September of 2019. The Department of Justice investigated whether or not the pact violated antitrust laws when reaching a deal with California. Ultimately the investigation was inconclusive, leaving the President embarrassed once again by his outlandish assumptions.

Learn More

  • Cole, A. (2020, August 18). California regulators, automakers finalize pact for tougher emissions regulations. The Car Connection : https://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1129288_california-regulators-automakers-finalize-pact-for-tougher-emissions-regulations
  • Davenport, H. T. (2019, September 06). Justice Dept. Investigates California Emissions Pact That Embarrassed Trump. The New York Times : https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/06/climate/automakers-california-emissions-antitrust.html
  • Shephardson, D. (2020, August 17). Defying Trump, California locks in vehicle emission deals with major automakers. Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-california/defying-trump-california-locks-in-vehicle-emission-deals-with-major-automakers-idUSKCN25D2CH

Resistance Resources

  • (2020). Climate Group : https://www.theclimategroup.org/partner/state-california
  • (2020). California Air Resources Board : https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/
  • (2020). Coalation for Clean Air : https://www.ccair.org/
  • (2020). Environmental Defense Fund : https://www.edf.org/climate/california-leads-fight-curb-climate-change
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