Today, the Trump administration announced new vehicle emission guidelines which roll back the existing Clean Car Standards, betraying the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA)’s stated mission of protecting human health and the environment. Trump officials are also considering rejecting a waiver that has allowed California and 12 other states to adopt standards that are more protective of health and the environment.
If fully implemented, this regressive move would eliminate our nation’s best climate change mitigation program, which is cutting future carbon emissions more effectively than any other federal policy. Preliminary calculations indicate that weaker standards could increase global warming emissions by 2.2 billion metric tons by 2040. Using the EPA’s own calculator, that’s about the same amount of pollution that all the passenger vehicles in the United States emit over 21 months.
Rob Sargent, Energy Program Director for Environment America, released the following statement:
“How can we justify rolling back the most effective tool we have to address global warming?
“This latest move by the Trump administration means that our cars will continue to pump billions of metric tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, further destabilizing the climate and sparking increasingly severe impacts of global warming. At our current carbon pollution level, humanity is facing conditions not seen on our planet for more than 400,000 years.
“Back in November, the Trump administration released the National Climate Assessment, in which the nation’s top scientists once again confirmed fossil fuels’ contribution to global warming. Given that transportation emissions are now the number one source of global warming pollution, we should be accelerating progress on clean cars, not hitting the brakes.
“Adopting this short-sighted and irresponsible proposal would exacerbate the global warming that now turbocharges weather systems ranging from always-dangerous tropical cyclones to once-benign rainstorms. Extreme weather is leaving a trail of tragedy, from the ongoing wildfires across the Western states this summer, to the massive hurricanes that struck Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico last fall, to the proliferation of tick-borne and other illnesses stoked by hot, humid conditions. Polls show that 50 percent of Americans believe that global warming will harm them personally, and 75 percent think it will harm future generations.
“We need national leaders to look forward, not backwards. That means recognizing how critical a stable climate is to a strong and healthy America. Thirteen states have stepped forward to lead the transition to cleaner cars by adopting stronger vehicle emission standards as permitted under the Clean Air Act. If we roll back clean car standards, we will negate their efforts and we’ll shirk our responsibility to preserve our quality of life for future generations. We must vigorously push back on this wrong-headed move and instead demand continued steady and swift progress in tackling car emissions.”