California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a ban against the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger vehicles in the most populous US state by 2035, aggressively moving further away from its reliance on climate change-causing fossil fuels.
According to an executive order issued by Newsom on Wednesday, all new passenger vehicles sold in California are required to be zero-emission by the 2035 deadline, a target which would achieve more than a 35 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, reports Xinhua news agency.
“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” said Newsom.
“For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our 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,” the Governor added.
California officials noted that the transportation sector is responsible for more than half of the state’s carbon pollution, 80 per cent of smog-forming pollution and 95 per cent of toxic diesel emissions.
In addition, California will develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will be 100 per cent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks.
The executive order will not prevent Californians from owning gas-powered vehicles or selling them on the used car market.
Newsom said the move is essential to meeting California’s air quality and climate goals.
“The climate change crisis is happening now, impacting California in unprecedented ways, and affecting the health and safety of too many Californians,” he said in the executive order.
“We must accelerate our actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and more quickly move toward our low-carbon, sustainable and resilient future.”
California officials insisted that climate change has played a key role in worsening wildfires in the state which has so far over 3.6 million acres as of Wednesday.
Responding to Newsom’s announcment, Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday said that she will follow the California requirement and look into policies to accelerate transportation electrification in her state.
According to Brown, the executive action by Newsom was a transformative step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.
“In Oregon, we have already set ambitious goals for increasing the number of zero-emission vehicles on our roads. As the chair of the Western Governors’ Association, I have launched the Electric Vehicles Roadmap Initiative with my fellow governors to lay out the path to the adoption of zero-emission technology, from consumer incentives and tax exemptions to building the electric vehicle infrastructure we will need across the West,” she noted.
Brown argued that the transportation sector is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon and pollutants from diesel and gasoline combustion pose immediate public health risks to the state.
“We cannot adequately address climate change without moving to zero-emission vehicles,” Brown said.
“With the impacts of climate change all around us, including a more intense and destructive wildfire season than any in recent memory, we must meet this challenge.”