Automakers defy Trump’s pro-pollution agenda by agreeing to adhere to California emissions standards
Four automakers representing 30 percent of the American market just undermined President Donald Trump’s pro-pollution agenda by agreeing to adhere to California’s stricter emissions standards in a win for the environment and innovation.
Reducing carbon emissions is a critical goal the world must reach if we are to prevent uncontrollable climate change. As part of this effort, California is doing its part by setting the highest emissions standards for automakers in the nation. These standards were on par with former President Obama’s national emissions standards, but Trump is withdrawing those standards to allow automakers to make cars that spew more emissions and get less mileage per gallon. In other words, he wants cars to be dirtier and less efficient.
But earlier this week, four major automakers signed a deal to adhere to California’s standards instead of Trump’s.
Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW announced the agreement in a joint statement.
“Ensuring that America’s vehicles are efficient, safe and affordable is a priority for us all,” they said. “These terms will provide our companies much-needed regulatory certainty by allowing us to meet both federal and state requirements with a single national fleet, avoiding a patchwork of regulations while continuing to ensure meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions.”
California is giving the automakers who sign on to the deal a little more time to reach the standards set by state law, which they have to do if they want to sell cars there. Not meeting the standards would result in the loss of a major market these automakers can’t afford to lose.
“This agreement represents a feasible and acceptable path to accomplishing the goals of California and the automobile industry,” California air pollution regulator Mary Nichols said in a statement. “If the White House does not agree, we will move forward with our current standards but work with individual carmakers to implement these principles. At the same time, if the current federal vehicle standards proposal is finalized, we will continue to enforce our regulations and pursue legal challenges to the federal rule.”
As Trump continues to threaten to take California to the Supreme Court to impose his pro-pollution agenda onto the state, this new deal seriously undermines him.
Governor Gavin Newsom (D) praised the automakers on Twitter while taking a shot at Trump.
Trump and his administration are in complete denial about climate change.
In CA, we don’t see the politics, we see the principle. The facts. The world gets — it and these automobile makers get it as well. Now it’s time for @realDonaldTrump to step up. https://t.co/Zl7LV1yEHU
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) July 25, 2019
Former Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) also hailed the agreement.
Automakers understand the future, and it is clearly located in California. They opt for CA’s emission rules over Trump rules. Thank you @GavinNewsom for the Art of the Emissions Deal. https://t.co/rwsxcBV6DT
— Barbara Boxer (@BarbaraBoxer) July 26, 2019
As did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
This deal works for consumers & manufacturers – not Big Oil. All automakers and the Administration should join it. https://t.co/LrB6DjmOxU
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 25, 2019
Volkswagen was the most likely of the four to sign on. The company has reinvented itself by focusing more on electric vehicles. In fact, the company is already preparing for a future when mass car use is over.
If other automakers want to compete in California, they’ll have to join the agreement as well. And once that happens, Trump’s war against the state over emissions standards will be rendered as impotent as he is.
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