California Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat chairing the chamber’s budget committee, says he intends to introduce a bill that would allow the state’s motor vehicle department to register only automobiles that emit no carbon dioxide, such as battery-electric vehicles or hydrogen fuel cell cars.
The proposed legislation would ultimately ban internal combustion engines, mimicking similar actions taken by France and the United Kingdom. Ting claims that, without a plan in place, California’s attempt to dramatically reduce greenhouse emissions by 2050 will prove ineffective.
“Until you set a deadline, nothing gets done,” Ting told Bloomberg in interview on Tuesday. “It’s responsible for us to set a deadline 23 years in advance.”
Ting says he’ll introduce the bill when lawmakers return to Sacramento next month for an upcoming legislative session, believing it’s important for the mitigation of transportation-related pollution — which surpassed power plants as the biggest source of CO2 emissions in 2016. However, that could change back once a large percentage of automobiles use them to charge up every single night.
Cars are only a portion of the transportation emissions problem, though. Cruising alone is possibly the least efficient way to traverse the globe, but research has shown that taking a couple passengers in an economical gas-burning sedan is less dirty than taking a fully booked plane or half-occupied bus. Tossing in cargo ships that burn heavy marine fuel only complicates things further, as large ships are now believed to pollute far worse than the sum of the world’s cars.
Still, it’s automobiles that are facing the strictest regulations, and internal combustion cars have been in California’s crosshairs for some time. In April of 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown announced the importance of imposing fuel economy mandates by saying, “If the federal government can’t get it right, we in California are going to take care of business.”
In September of 2017, Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, said Brown was pressing her to move forward with an internal combustion ban. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California,” she explained.
“To reach the ambitious levels of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we have to pretty much replace all combustion with some form of renewable energy by 2040 or 2050,” Nichols continued. “We’re looking at that as a method of moving this discussion forward.”
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