Throughout Europe and Asia, a growing number of countries are gearing up to ban sales of gas and diesel vehicles. They’re doing so to lower emissions, slow global warming, and–let’s face it–spur investment and consumerism on the green energy front.
Here in the U.S., our president and his anti-science EPA chief have been moving federal policies in precisely the opposite direction, but one state is trying to maintain America’s forward momentum in the Green Revolution. No surprises for guessing that that state is California:
The internal combustion engine’s days may be numbered in California, where officials are mulling whether a ban on sales of polluting autos is needed to achieve long-term targets for cleaner air.
Governor Jerry Brown has expressed an interest in barring the sale of vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines, Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, said in an interview Friday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. The earliest such a ban is at least a decade away, she said.
Brown, one of the most outspoken elected official in the U.S. about the need for policies to combat climate change, would be replicating similar moves by China, France and the U.K.
What’s more, California wouldn’t have to seek approval from the EPA for such a plan:
California has the authority to write its own pollution rules, which dates back to the 1970 Clean Air Act. Those rules are underpinned by waivers granted by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Nichols said the state would likely take a different legal route to enable a possible ban rather than use an EPA waiver, since the Trump administration would be unlikely to approve one. For example, California could use vehicle registration rules or control the vehicles that can access state highways, she said.
“We certainly wouldn’t expect to get a waiver for that from EPA,” Nichols said. “I think we would be looking at using some of our other authorities to get to that result.”
Like China, Germany, Norway, France, and the U.K., California is in the very early stages of considering such a ban, but the target date range is roughly 2030 to 2040. Don’t be surprised if other states follow suit.