Climate 411

EPA Expected to Act Soon on Mercury and Air Toxics Standards

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards have slashed dangerous pollution and prevented thousands of premature deaths since their creation in 2012.

 

Despite this success, the Trump administration undermined the legal foundation for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards in 2020. But the Environmental Protection Agency is soon expected to release a proposal that would restore the legal basis for limiting hazardous air pollution from coal-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act.

 

It’s critical for the health of American families that EPA does so — and that EPA then further strengthens the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

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Also posted in Clean Air Act, Policy / Comments are closed

California Accelerates Toward Zero-Emission Vehicle Standards That Will Save Lives, Save Money, Create Jobs

California just moved further down the road toward cleaner cars and vital air pollution reductions.

The state’s Air Resources Board hosted a public workshop on the development of its Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) program last week, where it announced that it intends to propose multipollutant standards that will ensure all new cars sold in California are zero-emitting vehicles by 2035.

At the workshop, the Air Resources Board for the first time laid out a proposed trajectory for the ACC II program, charting a course for ensuring 60% of new vehicles sold in 2030 are zero-emitting and 100% of new vehicles sold by 2035 are zero-emitting.

Slide from Air Resources Board workshop presentation, available here

The ACC II program will build from California’s long history of advancing vehicle pollution reductions under Clean Air Act authority. If adopted, the draft standards described at the workshop will reduce health-harming pollution and climate emissions from new passenger vehicles beyond the 2025 model year and increase the number of zero-emission vehicles for sale. They will also reduce climate pollution, deliver jobs, save Californians’ money, and – most important – save lives.

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Also posted in California, Cars and Pollution, Cities and states, Green Jobs, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Jobs, News, Policy / Comments are closed

Driving the electric vehicle transition: auto companies and states step up to lead

If you watched any major televised sporting events this year, from the NCAA Final Four to the Super Bowl, you saw ad after ad showcasing American auto companies’ new electric cars. It’s proof that electric vehicles (EVs) are ready for a mainstream market – you don’t pay Will Ferrell and LeBron James to promote your car just to niche buyers.

Momentum is clearly building. Companies are prepared to capitalize on the economic benefits of EVs, for both consumers and autoworkers, as well as the climate and health benefits that all Americans will see.

In the last three months, some of the largest automakers in the U.S. and the world have committed to dramatically expanding their EV lineup. They have announced plans to invest billions of dollars in EV development, and plans to transition to an all-electric future by 2035 or earlier.

The Biden administration made a commitment last week to reduce U.S. climate pollution by at least 50 percent by 2030 – a commitment that was supported by major automakers and that will require significant emission reductions from the transportation sector.

States are also playing a leading role in driving progress. Last week, a bipartisan group of 12 governors detailed the important role that states have played in deploying zero-emitting vehicles and urged the Biden administration to move forward with ambitious standards that would eliminate pollution from all motor vehicles. And next week, the California Air Resources Board will hold a workshop related to its development of Advanced Clean Car II standards – standards that are expected to help the state ensure all new vehicles sold in California are zero-emitting by 2035.

The transportation sector is responsible for over a quarter of U.S. climate pollution – more than any other sector. The transportation sector also emits a slew of health-harming pollutants, including oxides of nitrogen and particulate pollution. The transportation sector is key to meaningful climate action.

To achieve meaningful reductions in transportation pollution, it will be key for the administration follow automakers’ commitments and state leadership with bold, decisive air pollution standards that put the U.S. on a path to ensure all new vehicles are zero-emitting no later than 2035 for passenger cars and trucks, and no later than 2040 for freight trucks and buses.

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Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Economics, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Jobs, Policy / Comments are closed

The Wall Street Journal says electric vehicles are better – but underestimates how much

A recent Wall Street Journal article answers definitively YES to the question of whether electric vehicles are really better for the environment. But even this strong endorsement of electric vehicles underestimates just how good these cars, trucks and buses will be for our climate and air.

The article reports findings from researchers at the University of Toronto. The researchers compared vehicle emissions for a 2021 Toyota RAV4 and a Tesla Model 3. The study is clear that operations are cleaner for electric vehicles.  With each mile driven, the electric vehicles’ environmental performance outpaced gasoline-powered cars, quickly wiping out the slightly higher production emissions for electric vehicles.

Even with a relatively dirty fossil-fuel-based electricity generation mix and metal-intensive battery materials, this study – which looked only at a snapshot of technology as it is today – found that electric vehicles break even with gasoline-powered cars at about 20,000 miles of lifetime usage. And that break-even point is getting lower quickly, as electric vehicle technology accelerates faster than a Polestar with a tailwind.

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Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Economics, Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News / Comments are closed

The benefits of clean trucks and buses: thousands of lives saved, less pollution, more jobs

Passenger cars have been leading the way, so far, in the development of zero emission technologies. But there’s also a movement underway to develop heavy-duty electric vehicles – like freight trucks and buses – that could have sweeping benefits for the climate, public health, and American jobs.

At EDF, we just released a new report, Clean Trucks, Clean Air, American Jobs, that analyzes the effects of eliminating tailpipe pollution from those medium and heavy-duty vehicles – including buses, semis and other long-haul trucks, and the “last-mile” trucks that deliver packages to American homes.

Our report found that a rapid transition to zero-emitting freight trucks and buses will significantly reduce dangerous air pollution – pollution that disproportionately burdens lower income neighborhoods and communities of color.

Air pollution standards that ensure all new heavy-duty trucks and buses sold for urban and community use are zero-emitting by 2035, and all such vehicles sold are zero-emission by 2040, would:

  • Prevent a sum total of more than 57,000 premature deaths by 2050
  • Eliminate a sum total of more than 4.7 billion metric tons of climate pollution by 2050.
  • Significantly reduce two main components of smog – nitrogen oxides pollution by a sum total of more than 10 million tons by 2050, and particulate pollution by a sum total of almost 200,000 tons by 2050
  • Save $485 billion in health and environmental benefits alone as a result of pollution reductions.

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Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Economics, Jobs, News, Policy / Comments are closed

A teachable moment: Zero-emission school buses are a winning proposition

By Larissa Koehler

Every pre-COVID school day, approximately 480,000 school buses carry more than 25 million children to school across the United States. Most of them run on diesel fuel and spew pollution that causes cancer, triggers asthma attacks and makes climate change worse. Indeed, of the over 40,000 school buses registered in the U.S. in 2019, only 240 were zero-emission (and only about 1% of school buses are electric). This picture will not improve without intervention — barring additional measures, only 27,000 of the projected 560,000 school buses that will be built in the next 10 years will be electric.

Luckily, that intervention is starting to arrive. Today Senator Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Senator Murray (D-WA) and Representatives Cardenas (D-CA)  and Hayes (D-CT) introduced the Clean School Bus Act a groundbreaking piece of legislation that will provide grants for infrastructure and vehicles, with an emphasis on deploying them in communities hardest hit by health-impacting air pollution.

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Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Read 2 Responses