Vehicle Emission Standards Rollback ‘Absurd': California Governor

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By Bobby Magill

California has the “legal horsepower” to block the EPA’s efforts to roll back the state’s auto emissions and fuel economy standards, which, if successful, could shift the global auto industry to China, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said April 17.

“The idea that we’re going to roll back the auto standards is absurd,” Brown said, speaking to reporters at the National Press Club. “We’re not going to do that. China’s not going to do that. Between California and China, Mr. Pruitt has met his match.”

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s efforts to dismantle federal environmental regulations is a particularly potent source of friction between the agency and California. The state struck a deal with the Obama administration in 2011 to increase vehicle fuel economy in the state to 50 miles per gallon by 2025.

China also has been strengthening emission standards.

“The sad part of this is China wants to dominate the electric car industry like they’ve dominated the solar electricity industry,” Brown said. “Pruitt and the president are collaborating on shifting the auto industry to China. We have to intensify, increase our vehicle emissions standards, not weaken them.”

More Work to Be Done

Efforts in California and other states to cut greenhouse gas emissions, Brown said, are insufficient to curb climate change, a looming disaster with billions of lives at risk due to terrorism, insecurity, and heat-related deaths.

“Climate change [is] a serious matter,” he said. “We have a long way to go, and unfortunately all the oxygen is consumed by nonsense and very little on substance.”

Cutting carbon emissions and eventually creating “negative emissions” by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is “imperative,” he said.

Climate models under the Paris Agreement assume that countries will be removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere later this century in order to prevent global warming from exceeding 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Under the 2015 Paris climate pact, nearly 200 nations, including the U.S. and China, agreed on a goal to keep temperatures below a 2 degree Celsius rise from pre-industrial levels. President Donald Trump plans to pull the U.S. out of the agreement.

Environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, are calling for California to ban oil drilling, but Brown said that California’s climate strategy focuses on reducing oil consumption rather than production.

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