California Passes World's First Clean Trucks Rule
The Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Regulation, passed unanimously by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), will require more than half of trucks sold in the state be zero-emission by 2035 and 100 percent by 2045, The New York Times reported.
"California is once again leading the nation in the fight to make our air cleaner," Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement reported by Reuters.
California takes bold step to reduce diesel truck pollution. A first of its kind requirement for #zeroemission truc… https://t.co/uNxDgJWvXL— CARB (@CARB)1593126856.0
The rule aims to end diesel pollution from trucks by requiring manufacturers to sell an increasing percentage of zero-emissions trucks beginning in 2024. It applies to medium duty and large trucks, as light trucks are already covered by the state's clean car requirements.
The rule will help California achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2035 and 80 percent by 2050, according to CARB. In addition to its climate benefits, the rule will help tackle toxic diesel pollution that disproportionately impacts low-income communities of color at a time of national protests over racial injustice and a pandemic possibly made more deadly by exposure to air pollution.
Transportation overall accounts for more than 95 percent of California's diesel particulate matter emissions, around 80 percent of its smog-forming nitrogen oxide emissions and around 50 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions if fuel production is accounted for, according to CARB. Heavy duty trucks alone are responsible for a third of the state's nitrogen oxide emissions and a fifth of its greenhouse gas emissions, E&E News reported.
Heavy duty trucks are especially a hazard for the largely low-income or minority communities who live in the state's "diesel death zones," areas passed by thousands of trucks every day.
"We have some of the worst air quality in the nation, and that's because of the ozone pollution that largely comes from diesel trucks," Anthony Victoria-Midence, a resident of San Bernardino and a spokesman for the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice told E&E News in a phone interview. "It's leading to generations of families suffering from all kinds of illnesses, like asthma and cancer. That's why these things need to be addressed now, and the best way to do that is by moving forward a strong Advanced Clean Trucks rule."
BREAKING: @AirResources votes to pass historic #ElectricTrucksRule, the first of its kind in the nation! Now let’… https://t.co/D7oD9gtSve— CCAEJ (@CCAEJ)1593127301.0
The rule was opposed by oil companies, farmers and industry groups and truck makers, The New York Times reported. Vehicle and engine manufacturers argued in March that the rule should be delayed because of the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
"This is not a business-as-usual situation, and it should not be a regulation-as-usual situation, either," the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association said in a letter to regulators in March.
But CARB chairwoman Mary Nichols disagreed.
"This is exactly the right time for this rule," Nichols told The New York Times. "We certainly know that the economy is in a rough shape right now, and there aren't a lot of new vehicle sales of any kind. But when they are able to buy vehicles again, we think it's important that they be investing in the cleanest kinds of vehicles."
The rule could face another powerful opponent: the Trump administration. Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already revoked California's waiver under the Clean Air Act to set its own emissions standards over its clean car rules, and environmental groups fear it may do the same for trucks.
"I'm sure the Trump administration, if they are still in the White House next year, would try to throw something in the way of this. But I think they would be very hard-pressed to justify it," Earthjustice staff attorney Paul Cort told E&E News. "This really is a big rule, and I'm very excited to get this one in the books and move on."
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From Greta Thunberg to Sir David Attenborough, the headline-grabbing climate change activists and environmentalists of today are predominantly white. But like many areas of society, those whose voices are heard most often are not necessarily representative of the whole.
1. Wangari Maathai<p>In 2004, Professor Maathai made history as the <a href="https://www.nobelpeaceprize.org/Prize-winners/Prizewinner-documentation/Wangari-Maathai" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize</a> for her dedication to sustainable development, democracy and peace. She started the <a href="http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Green Belt Movement</a>, a community-based tree planting initiative that aims to reduce poverty and encourage conservation, in 1977. More than 51 million trees have been planted helping build climate resilience and empower communities, especially women and girls. Her environmental work is celebrated every year on <a href="http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/node/955" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Wangari Maathai Day on 3 March</a>.</p>
2. Robert Bullard<p>Known as the 'father of environmental justice,' Dr Bullard has <a href="https://www.unep.org/championsofearth/laureates/2020/robert-bullard" target="_blank">campaigned against harmful waste</a> being dumped in predominantly Black neighborhoods in the southern states of the U.S. since the 1970s. His first book, Dumping in Dixie, highlighted the link between systemic racism and environmental oppression, showing how the descendants of slaves were exposed to higher-than-average levels of pollutants. In 1994, his work led to the signing of the <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/albert-huang/20th-anniversary-president-clintons-executive-order-12898-environmental-justice" target="_blank">Executive Order on Environmental Justice</a>, which the <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/27/executive-order-on-tackling-the-climate-crisis-at-home-and-abroad/" target="_blank">Biden administration is building on</a>.<br></p>
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Pollution has a race problem. Elizabethwarren.com
3. John Francis<p>Helping the clean-up operation after an oil spill in San Francisco Bay in January 1971 inspired Francis to <a href="https://planetwalk.org/about-john/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stop taking motorized transport</a>. Instead, for 22 years, he walked everywhere. He also took a vow of silence that lasted 17 years, so he could listen to others. He has walked the width of the U.S. and sailed and walked through South America, earning the nickname "Planetwalker," and raising awareness of how interconnected people are with the environment.</p>
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4. Dr. Warren Washington<p>A meteorology and climate pioneer, Dr. Washington was one of the first people to develop atmospheric computer models in the 1960s, which have helped scientists understand climate change. These models now also incorporate the oceans and sea ice, surface water and vegetation. In 2007, the <a href="https://www.cgd.ucar.edu/pcm/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Parallel Climate Model (PCM)</a> and <a href="https://www.cesm.ucar.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Community Earth System Model (CESM)</a>, earned Dr. Washington and his colleagues the <a href="https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/2007/summary/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Nobel Peace Prize</a>, as part of the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change</a>.</p>
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5. Angelou Ezeilo<p>Huge trees and hikes to pick berries during her childhood in upstate New York inspired Ezeilo to become an environmentalist and set up the <a href="https://gyfoundation.org/staff/Angelou-Ezeilo" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Greening Youth Foundation</a>, to educate future generations about the importance of preservation. Through its schools program and Youth Conservation Corps, the social enterprise provides access to nature to disadvantaged children and young people in the U.S. and West Africa. In 2019, Ezeilo published her book <em>Engage, Connect, Protect: Empowering Diverse Youth as Environmental Leaders</em>, co-written by her Pulitzer Prize-winning brother Nick Chiles.</p>
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