Hi folks, sorry for the long blog layoff, but between my bout with Whooping Cough (yes, I like my vehicle technology to be cutting edge, but my respiratory infections old-school) and getting our latest Driving Change Network newsletter out the door, I have been remiss in my blog duties.
No better way to get back on the horse than to quote a state governor telling automakers to collectively “get off your butt.” Yes, the only governor who could get away with that is the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The context? Well, as promised, California has initiated a lawsuit against the EPA to demand a decision on the waiver needed to implement the clean car standards for global warming pollution. Here’s what we had to say about it.
As you might remember, 11 other states have adopted these standards, and four more are in the process of adopting with Colorado having recently joined Arizona, Florida, and New Mexico. Together these states represent some 45 percent of the new car market nationwide. Now, add to that the Supreme Court decision that automotive global warming pollution must be regulated under the Clean Air Act, and the Vermont court smackdown of the automakers’ first lawsuit to try and stop the standards, one would say there was a bit of momentum to move these breakthrough standards forward.
As a “hybrid guy,” I am most excited about these standards as they will help to ensure that automakers are thinking about carbon emissions in each and every step of the vehicle development process. This is a needed check on the trend to make sure automakers aren’t just using the hybrid name to greenwash conventional technological improvements they should be making throughout their fleet (like the Saturn Greenline Vue) using real hybrid technology in a "business as usual" MPH over MPG fashion (like the now defunct Honda Accord Hybrid or the Lexus hybrids), and instead use real hybrid technology to drive the leading edge of fuel efficiency for vehicles on the market today.
The really exciting and new news is the fact that it isn’t just California and the other states in the adoption process weighing in, but states that haven’t decided one way or the other if they are going to move forward with adoption. The state of Illinois actually decided to join the lawsuit itself, and also joined in a letter to Congress signed by 16 attorney generals, including Minnesota and Iowa demanding that they not attempt to legislatively stop states from considering the clean car standards.
The Bush administration is running out of excuses to further delay what should have been a forgone conclusion with this waiver long ago. This rings especially true given that the White House itself has already taken credit for the California emission standards in the U.S. Climate Action Report that they sent broadly around the world (see the chart on p. 52 of this State Department .pdf if you want the smoking gun).
If you’d like to pull a Schwarzenegger and tell EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to get off his keester on the waiver, go send him a message.
Posted by: ScottN