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GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Fiat Side With Trump in Fuel Efficiency War Against California
In July, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW of North America negotiated a deal with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to meet stricter emissions standards preferred by the state.
Now, major automakers including General Motors, Kia and Toyota are throwing their weight behind the Trump administration in the legal battle over whether or not California can set its own standards under the Clean Air Act, The Hill reported Monday.
The automakers, joining under the banner of the Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation, filed their motion on behalf of the administration Monday. They are supporting the administration against California and 22 other states who sued in September to stop the federal government from revoking California's waiver to set its own tailpipe emissions standards.
"Historically, the industry has taken the position that federal government is the sole purview of fuel economy," John Bozzella, president and CEO of industry group Global Automakers and coalition spokesperson, said, as The Hill reported.
California leaders responded with anger to the automakers' decision. State Senator Scott Wiener noted that the announcement came as the state was battling massive wildfires.
"Toyota, GM & Chrysler have great timing: moving to overturn California's auto emission standards as our state burns due to climate change & the irresponsible policies that fuel it," he tweeted. "Let's remember this selfish corporate betrayal."
Toyota, GM & Chrysler have great timing: moving to overturn California’s auto emission standards as our state burns due to climate change & the irresponsible policies that fuel it.— Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) October 28, 2019
Let’s remember this selfish corporate betrayal. https://t.co/lw29rRGmAI
CARB Chairwoman Mary Nichols also spoke out against the car companies.
"We are disappointed in the Association of Global Automakers for hiding behind the Trump administration's skirts and its assault on public health," she told The New York Times.
The companies siding with the administration also include Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Hyundai and Fiat Chrysler, according to Reuters.
At the heart of the battle are fuel efficiency standards proposed by the Obama administration that would have required automakers build vehicles with an average fuel efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, The New York Times explained. This would have prevented around six billion tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
Automakers initially asked the Trump administration to weaken standards, but it pushed them so low that California and several other states said they would continue to enforce higher standards, potentially splitting the U.S. car market. This is the context in which the four car companies made a deal with California to promise a slightly less ambitious target of 51 miles per gallon by 2026.
Honda, one of the car companies involved with that deal, distanced itself from Monday's legal action.
"Honda is not a participant in this litigation," spokesperson Marcos Frommer told The New York Times, "and is not contributing any funds supporting our trade association's activity in this area."
The layers to this saga are mind bending.— Brent Snavely (@BrentSnavely) October 29, 2019
Trump V. Cali
States rights V. Federal Power
Ford, VW, Honda V. GM, FCA and Toyota,
Other than that....not much going onhttps://t.co/JG7QuYjcwd
Bozzella insisted that the car makers were not joining the lawsuit to influence what the national fuel efficiency standard should be. They simply wanted to ensure it would be one national standard. He said the administration had not asked the car companies to join the lawsuit.
"The decision to intervene in the lawsuit is about how the standard should be applied, not what the standard should be," he said, as Reuters reported.
The car companies' action follows a move by seven states to join the lawsuit on the administration's side on Friday.
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Nestlé cannot claim that its Ice Mountain bottled water brand is an essential public service, according to Michigan's second highest court, which delivered a legal blow to the food and beverage giant in a unanimous decision.
A number of supermarkets across the country have voluntarily issued a recall on sushi, salads and spring rolls distributed by Fuji Food Products due to a possible listeria contamination, as CBS News reported.
If you read a lot of news about the climate crisis, you probably have encountered lots of numbers: We can save hundreds of millions of people from poverty by 2050 by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but policies currently in place put us on track for a more than three degree increase; sea levels could rise three feet by 2100 if emissions aren't reduced.
Poverty and violence in Central America are major factors driving migration to the United States. But there's another force that's often overlooked: climate change.
Retired Lt. Cmdr. Oliver Leighton Barrett is with the Center for Climate and Security. He says that in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, crime and poor economic conditions have long led to instability.
"And when you combine that with protracted drought," he says, "it's just a stressor that makes everything worse."
Barrett says that with crops failing, many people have fled their homes.
"These folks are leaving not because they're opportunists," he says, "but because they are in survival mode. You have people that are legitimate refugees."
So Barrett supports allocating foreign aid to programs that help people in drought-ridden areas adapt to climate change.
"There are nonprofits that are operating in those countries that have great ideas in terms of teaching farmers to use the land better, to harvest water better, to use different variety of crops that are more resilient to drought conditions," he says. "Those are the kinds of programs I think are needed."
So he says the best way to reduce the number of climate change migrants is to help people thrive in their home countries.
Reporting credit: Deborah Jian Lee / ChavoBart Digital Media.
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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Chris Pratt was called out on social media by Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa after Pratt posted an image "low key flexing" with a single-use plastic water bottle.