Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

New Fuel Emission Standards Fall Short

New Fuel Emission Standards Fall Short

Center for Biological Diversity

The Obama administration proposed new vehicle fuel-emission standards Nov. 16 that fall far short of what is needed to make significant reductions in greenhouse gas pollution—and also short of what is achievable. The standards announced Nov. 16, for tailpipe emissions and gas mileage for passenger vehicles and light trucks in 2025, are below the European Union’s proposed standards for 2020. Gas mileage would reach a maximum of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The Center for Biological Diversity advocated for standards exceeding 60 miles per gallon.

“While we applaud progress, these weak standards simply don’t reflect the urgency of the climate crisis,” said Vera Pardee, an attorney at the Center’s Climate Law Institute. “The United States has long had some of the weakest fuel-economy standards in the industrialized world, and today’s announcement does little to change that.”

Earlier this month, a sobering report from the highly respected International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that the door is closing on our ability to avert the worst impacts of climate change. The IEA concluded that “[t]here are few signs that the urgently needed change in direction in global energy trends is underway.” The announcement does little to improve the status quo.

Current laws require the government to set fuel-efficiency standards at the “maximum feasible” level and are designed to spur technological innovation by requiring that standards be set beyond what is achievable today. Despite these requirements, the administration’s rulemaking, driven by negotiations with the industry being regulated, would lock the nation into an inadequate pace of progress for the next 14 years.

The transportation sector accounts for about a third of total U.S. greenhouse emissions—and passenger vehicles account for about two-thirds of transportation emissions, spewing nearly 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions each year. Technologies are available today to make significant reductions, including more efficient and less-polluting engines and transmissions, strong but lightweight materials, improved aerodynamics, and hybrid and electric vehicles.

“Setting fuel-economy standards for 14 years from now that are lower than what we can achieve with technology on the road today is not the kind of progress we urgently need,” said Pardee.

For more information, click here.

air
Scaling up offshore renewable energy is one of the ways that governments can improve ocean sustainability efforts. BerndBrueggemann / Getty Images

On Wednesday, governments responsible for 40 percent of the world's coastlines and 20 percent of global fisheries announced a series of new commitments that comprise the world's biggest ocean sustainability initiative.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sheep like these will no longer be exported from England and Wales for slaughter under a proposed ban. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

The UK has taken steps toward becoming the first European country to ban the export of live animals for slaughter.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A group of climate activists that have been cycling from the North of the country in stages to draw attention to the climate case are arriving to the Court of Justice on the day that the climate lawsuit against Shell starts in The Hague, on December 1st, 2020. Romy Arroyo Fernandez / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

Representing more than 17,000 claimants who support climate action, the international organization Friends of the Earth on Tuesday opened its case against fossil fuel giant Shell at The Hague by demanding that a judge order the corporation to significantly reduce its carbon emissions in the next decade.

Read More Show Less
Eat Just, Inc. announced that its cultured chicken has been approved for sale in Singapore as an ingredient in chicken bites. The company has developed other cultured chicken formats as well. Eat Just

As concern mounts over the environmental impacts of animal agriculture, Singapore has issued the world's first regulatory approval for lab-grown meat.

Read More Show Less
Wildfires are seen burning out of control on November 30, 2020 on Fraser Island, Australia. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services / Getty Images

The world's largest sand island has been on fire for the past six weeks due to a campfire, and Australia's firefighters have yet to prevent flames from destroying the fragile ecosystem.

Read More Show Less