On Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new initiative to end the sale of gas-powered automobiles in the state by 2035 — a 15-year timeline that will make this state of 40 million people the first in the nation to phase out gas-only vehicles completely.
Newsom made the announcement of his executive order as part of Climate Week 2020, and the move to ban gas-powered vehicles by a particular date has already been taken by Germany, France, Norway and a dozen other countries. As the Associated Press reports, the move is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California up to 35 percent. And, no doubt, Trump will be tweeting about this if he hasn't already because he's been — in his anti-science, backwards-leaning, dummy Republican posturing been trying to push California and other states to roll back their emissions standards.
"This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” Newsom said in a statement. "For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. You deserve to have a car that doesn’t give your kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse — and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines."
Environmental groups and Green New Deal proponents are likely to say this move by California doesn't go far enough, because it will allow everyone to continue owning and driving gas-only cars, and reselling them as used. It also doesn't move to reduce emissions from heavy trucks until 2045.
And, as the Chronicle notes, environmentalists have blasted Newsom for being all talk when it comes to climate change, with the state having approved more oil and natural gas drilling permits in the first half of this year than it did last year.
And, of course, there's the fact that Al Gore rang alarm bells about the "Inconvenient Truth" of climate change and all the things that humans would have to change to reverse or slow the coming damage to coastlines back in 2006. 14 years later and we're still talking about just phasing out new gas-powered cars 15 years from now. A UN report from 2018 said that the planet only had about 12 years — 10 years now, until 2030 — to keep average global temperature increases at 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid major, global catastrophes.
So doesn't it all sound like too little too late? Half the West Coast will need to be leveled by fire before extreme measures are political expedient, I guess.
Still, Newsom's executive order will spark ire from the right and from rural America and wherever people think climate change isn't anything they or their SUVs and pickup trucks need to worry about. Because: Amerrica.
Photo: Jean-Christophe G0ugeon