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How EVs Could Prevent More Than 18 Million Tons of Carbon Pollution Annually
With nearly 220,000 electric vehicles on U.S. roads, politicians and clean energy advocates believe it's time to charge ahead further.
Environment America's new study, Driving Cleaner: More Electric Vehicles Mean Less Pollution, proves the point of its title while showing why things should get even better under the Clean Power Plan and with increased deployment of renewable energy.
“It’s time to charge ahead,” said Travis Madsen, senior program manager for Environment America’s Global Warming Solutions campaign. “It’s not just because electric cars are speedy, quiet and cool-looking—they are also one of the most important tools we have to break our dependence on oil, clean up our air, improve our health and protect our climate.”
The report predicts that EVs could prevent more than 18 million metric tons of carbon pollution annually in the U.S. by 2025.
“Transportation accounts for nearly half of our greenhouse gas emissions, so getting more electric vehicles on the road is important for Washington State," said Charles Knutson, senior policy advisor for Gov. Jay Inslee. "The governor recently issued an executive order to extend our high-speed charging network, maintain and expand electric vehicle incentives and further electrify our public fleets.”
A year ago, a group of governors pledged to do their part in getting 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.
“The transportation sector accounts for about one-third of the greenhouse gases emitted, so the deployment of more electric and plug-in vehicles is key for Massachusetts to achieve our ambitious goals,” said Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett. “The Patrick Administration has put into place several policies that will help usher in a new era of clean cars, and we are collaborating with other states to get millions of electric vehicles on the road.”
Environment America argues that more state governors should take similar actions. Here are the report's recommendations:
- Governments at all levels should make it easier for people to own and drive electric vehicles. For example, Georgia offers up to a $5,000 tax credit and Colorado offers up to a $6,000 tax credit, while Washington offers a sales tax exemption for electric vehicles. Ensuring convenient access to charging infrastructure is also important.
- We should limit carbon pollution from transportation, just like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative limits carbon pollution from power plants.
- The U.S. should generate at least 25 percent of its electricity from clean, renewable sources of energy by 2025.
- The EPA should help clean up the electricity system by finalizing the recently announced Clean Power Plan, and states should support and implement them.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Julia Conley
Climate campaigners on Friday expressed hope that policymakers who are stalling on taking decisive climate action would reconsider their stance in light of new warnings from an unlikely source: two economists at J.P. Morgan Chase.
Tensions are continuing to rise in Canada over a controversial pipeline project as protesters enter their 12th day blockading railways, demonstrating on streets and highways, and paralyzing the nation's rail system
Colorado River Has Lost 1.5 Billion Tons of Water to the Climate Crisis, 'Severe Water Shortages' May Follow
California is headed toward drought conditions as February, typically the state's wettest month, passes without a drop of rain. The lack of rainfall could lead to early fire conditions. With no rain predicted for the next week, it looks as if this month will be only the second time in 170 years that San Francisco has not had a drop of rain in February, according to The Weather Channel.
The last time San Francisco did not record a drop of rain in February was in 1864 as the Civil War raged.
"This hasn't happened in 150 years or more," said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability to The Guardian. "There have even been a couple [of] wildfires – which is definitely not something you typically hear about in the middle of winter."
While the Pacific Northwest has flooded from heavy rains, the southern part of the West Coast has seen one storm after another pass by. Last week, the U.S. Drought Monitor said more Californians are in drought conditions than at any time during 2019, as The Weather Channel reported.
The dry winter has included areas that have seen devastating fires recently, including Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties. If the dry conditions continue, those areas will once again have dangerously high fire conditions, according to The Mercury News.
"Given what we've seen so far this year and the forecast for the next few weeks, I do think it's pretty likely we'll end up in some degree of drought by this summer," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported.
Another alarming sign of an impending drought is the decreased snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. The National Weather Service posted to Twitter a side-by-side comparison of snowpack from February 2019 and from this year, illustrating the puny snowpack this year. The snow accumulated in the Sierra Nevadas provides water to roughly 30 percent of the state, according to NBC Los Angeles.
Right now, the snowpack is at 53 percent of its normal volume after two warm and dry months to start the year. It is a remarkable decline, considering that the snowpack started 2020 at 90 percent of its historical average, as The Guardian reported.
"Those numbers are going to continue to go down," said Swain. "I would guess that the 1 March number is going to be less than 50 percent."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center forecast that the drier-than-average conditions may last through April.
NOAA said Northern California will continue deeper into drought through the end of April, citing that the "persistent high pressure over the North Pacific Ocean is expected to continue, diverting storm systems to the north and south and away from California and parts of the Southwest," as The Weather Channel reported.
As the climate crisis escalates and the world continues to heat up, California should expect to see water drawn out of its ecosystem, making the state warmer and drier. Increased heat will lead to further loss of snow, both as less falls and as more of it melts quickly, according to The Guardian.
"We aren't going to necessarily see less rain, it's just that that rain goes less far. That's a future where the flood risk extends, with bigger wetter storms in a warming world," said Swain, as The Guardian reported.
The Guardian noted that while California's reservoirs are currently near capacity, the more immediate impact of the warm, dry winter will be how it raises the fire danger as trees and grasslands dry out.
"The plants and the forests don't benefit from the water storage reservoirs," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported. "If conditions remain very dry heading into summer, the landscape and vegetation is definitely going to feel it this year. From a wildfire perspective, the dry years do tend to be the bad fire years, especially in Northern California."
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