Full-Page Ad Demands Tougher Tailpipe Rules, Faster Electrification, Equity

April 15, 2022

LOS ANGELES— Environmental, equity and health groups placed a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times today warning that California’s weak draft auto emissions rule falls short of needed progress and jeopardizes the state’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2045.

The ad calls on the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, to dramatically improve the rule to achieve 100% electric vehicle sales by 2030, slash pollution from gas-powered vehicles, and avoid shortcuts that sideline low-income communities and communities of color. It features an electric car with a destructive wildfire burning in the rearview mirror. The headline reads, “We need to drive out of this mess… and California is stalled.”

“California is facing a historic drought, another devastating fire season is about to begin, and CARB is driving in the slow lane,” said Scott Hochberg, an attorney with the Center’s Climate Law Institute. “This rule needs to reflect the urgency of the moment, and it’s not where it needs to be. Every car sold must be electric by 2030 or hopes of climate stability slip away.”

The ad is cosponsored by the Center for Biological Diversity, Greenlining Institute, Let’s Green CA, EV Hybrid Noire and California Nurses for Environmental Health and Justice.

“This draft rule from the California Air Resources Board is shamefully inadequate, particularly for the low-income communities of color who bear the burden of the worst pollution and who stand to be the most affected,” said Román Partida-López, legal counsel for transportation equity at The Greenlining Institute. “Not only does this draft rule barely acknowledge equity, the provisions it outlines aren’t even mandatory. You can’t expect those who’ve been responsible for the over-pollution of our communities to voluntarily choose people over profits. If CARB truly cares about equity, they’ll listen to frontline communities and make the necessary changes to ensure we don’t get left behind.”

The draft rule, called Advanced Clean Cars II, will be considered by the full Air Resources Board in June, after which the board has an opportunity to make improvements. It will likely be approved in August.

“The health science is clear that we must dramatically reduce vehicle-related air pollution,” said Barbara Sattler, a Leadership Council member with California Nurses for Environmental Health and Justice. “By eliminating combustion vehicles, we’ll be addressing climate change and, equally importantly, reducing Californians’ health risks across the lifespan, reducing risks of everything from premature births to Alzheimer’s disease.”

California has led the nation in setting strong auto emissions standards, but risks losing this mantle at a pivotal moment for climate protection. The state aims to reach 68% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2030. But because polluting gas-powered cars stay on the road for 15 to 20 years, California needs to go faster, reaching 100% ZEV sales by 2030. The rule also fails to put in place the requirements needed to ensure that the communities most affected by pollution benefit most from electric vehicles.

“We won’t have this opportunity again, as the world’s scientists tell us in the latest UN climate report.” said Heidi Harmon, public affairs director with Let’s Green CA, former Mayor San Luis Obispo. “It’s our moral obligation to use the technology and resources at our disposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avert unprecedented human suffering. CARB’s draft rule simply fails to address the scale of the climate crisis.”