“We need bold action,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday. Shortly before that statement, Newsom issued an executive order mandating that all new passenger vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2035.
The governor said bluntly, “CA is phasing out the internal combustion engine. By 2035 every new car sold in CA will be an emission free vehicle.”
See the text of the executive order here.
“Of all the simultaneous crises that we face,” Newsom stated, “the biggest is the climate crisis.” His goal, he said, was to “detoxify the economy.”
By 2045, the governor announced, trucks would need to adhere to the standards, as well. But a later statement from Newsom’s office said medium- and heavy-duty vehicles would be required to transition “where feasible.”
While Newsom did not mention it, the statement from his office says so-called drayage trucks — those that pick up from or deliver to a seaport, border point, inland port, or intermodal terminal where both the trip origin and destination in the same urban area — will need to convert by 2035. That’s especially important in cities like Los Angeles, where the port is one of the largest contributors to air pollution.
— CARB (@AirResources) September 23, 2020
“You can still keep your internal combustion cars,” said the governor. “You can still trade them, sell them [used]. We are not taking them away.”
“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” Newsom continued. “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.”
In its statement, the governor’s office maintained that the transition “would achieve more than a 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80 percent improvement in oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide.”
NEW: We’re facing a climate crisis.
We need bold action.
CA is phasing out the internal combustion engine.⁰
By 2035 every new car sold in CA will be an emission free vehicle.
Cars shouldn’t give our kids asthma.
Make wildfires worse.⁰
Or raise sea levels.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) September 23, 2020
Newsom said the transportation sector in California represents more than 50% of the state’s emissions. In terms of reducing emissions overall, Newsom maintained, “We can’t get there unless we accelerate our actions in the transportation sector.”
“We will move forward to green our fleet here in the state,” he said.
Currently California has 34 manufacturers of eclectic vehicles, reported the governor. The state’s second largest export, said Newsom, is electric vehicles. “This is an economic opportunity,” he said. He also insisted that the mandate was for zero-emission vehicles, and was not specific to all-electric vehicles.
Newsom’s power to issue the executive order comes via his stewardship of the California Air Resources Board. When asked why he didn’t seek legislative action instead, Newsom said, “This moment demands leadership. It demands movement.”
“This is the next big global industry,” declared Newsom, “and California wants to dominate it.”
Coincidentally — or maybe not coincidentally — Tesla founder Elon Musk on Tuesday shared a photo of the company’s new all-electric semi.
Cybertruck, ATV, Roadster & Semi
C A R S pic.twitter.com/4Aq1A5cYkH
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 23, 2020
“Bill Ford gets it,” Newsom said of the Ford Motor Company scion. “Honda, Volvo, BMW get it.” He said those companies are investing “billions and billions of dollars” in meeting the Obama-era emissions standard, despite the fact that President Trump rolled it back.
He also highlighted the fact that Volkswagen had on Wednesday introduced its first all-electric SUV, the ID.4, which VW says is an “SUV that’s meant to bring electric vehicles to the mainstream.”
The governor said the state would incentivize adoption of the vehicles “through credits…through rebates.”
The statement from his office also says the state will work with private companies to “accelerate deployment of affordable fueling and charging options.”
The statement continues: “The executive order directs state agencies to develop strategies for an integrated, statewide rail and transit network, and incorporate safe and accessible infrastructure into projects to support bicycle and pedestrian options, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities.”
Newsom said he was also looking to inaugurate “a just transition” for the state’s many petroleum-producing companies. He said fracking in California would be phased out, but hinted there would be help for local businesses in that sector.
The governor ended his media briefing by declaring, “We are just getting started.” He then announced his office was working on a whole range of executive orders related to biodiversity, energy efficiency and other areas. The goal is, he said, to “radically change and reduce the way we consume energy here in California.”
On September 8, Newsom spoke strongly about climate change and the need for action.
“Extreme fire events that we believe are climate-induced,” said the governor, require stronger commitments from state, local and federal governments.
When challenged on the cause of the fires, Newsom ticked off a list of extraordinary climate-related factors coming together this year including, “unprecedented temperatures, a heat dome, 14,000 lightning strikes over a 24-hour period and 150 million-plus dead trees related to a multi-year drought.”
He added: “I have no patience for climate-change deniers. It’s inconsistent with the reality on the ground, the facts.”
At that time the state had seen a record 2.6 million acres burned by wildfires. As Newsom made his announcement on Tuesday, that number had grown to 3.7 million acres.
Newsom later spoke directly to President Donald Trump at a joint appearance about his environmental concerns. The president dismissed comments by scientists about the need for action.
You can watch Newsom’s emissions announcement below.