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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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
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By Alex Kirby
The temperature of the Arctic matters to the entire world: it helps to keep the global climate fairly cool. Scientists now say that by 2035 there could be an end to Arctic sea ice.
Melt Ponds Crucial<p>"The prospect of loss of sea ice by 2035 should really be focusing all our minds on achieving a low-carbon world as soon as humanly feasible."</p><p><a href="http://www.reading.ac.uk/search/search-staff-details.aspx?id=10813" target="_blank">Dr. David Schroeder from the University of Reading</a>, UK, who co-led the implementation of the melt pond scheme in the climate model, says, "This shows just how important sea ice processes like melt ponds are in the Arctic, and why it is crucial that they are incorporated into climate models."</p><p>The extent of the areas <a href="https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/seaice/characteristics/formation.html" target="_blank">sea ice</a> covers varies between summer and winter. If more solar energy is absorbed at the surface, and temperatures rise further, a cycle of warming and melting occurs during summer months.</p><p>When the ice forms, the ocean water beneath becomes saltier and denser than the surrounding ocean. Saltier water sinks and moves along the ocean bottom towards the equator, while warm water from mid-depths to the surface travels from the equator towards the poles.</p><p>Scientists refer to this process as the ocean's global "conveyor-belt." Changes to the volume of sea ice can disrupt normal ocean circulation, with consequences for global climate. </p>
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Russia's Health Ministry has given regulatory approval for the world's first COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
Putin's Daughter Among Vaccinated<p>The Russian leader also said that one of his daughters has already been inoculated and is feeling well.</p><p>"One of my daughters got vaccinated, so in this sense, she took part in the testing," Putin said.</p><p>After the first vaccine shot, his daughter experienced a slight fever, 38 degrees Celsius (100.4°F). Her temperature came down to just slightly above normal the next day. </p><p>"After the second shot, she had a slight fever again, and then everything was fine. She is feeling well and has a high antibody count," Putin said. </p><p>He didn't specify which of his two daughters, Maria or Katerina, received the vaccine.</p><p>Russian health authorities have said that medical workers, teachers and other risk groups will be the first to receive shots of the vaccine.</p>
Years of Work Reduced to Weeks<p>Russia is the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine. As <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/germany-coronavirus-vaccine-may-only-be-available-in-mid-2021/a-54362065" target="_blank">countries worldwide race to produce the first vaccine</a>, health experts warn that speed and national pride could compromise safety.</p><p>Scientists in Russia and abroad have questioned Moscow's decision to register the vaccine before Phase 3 trials that normally last for months and involve thousands of people, but Putin emphasized that the vaccine underwent the necessary trials and that vaccination will be voluntary.</p><p>Russian officials have said that large-scale production of the vaccine will begin in September, and mass vaccination may start as early as October.</p><p>Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, has <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/philippines-duterte-volunteers-to-be-putins-russian-coronavirus-vaccine-guinea-pig/a-54523030" target="_blank">lauded Russia's efforts in developing the vaccine</a> and said that the Philippines is ready to work with Moscow on vaccine trials, supply and production. Duterte volunteered to "be the first they can experiment on."</p><p>"I will tell President Putin that I have huge trust in your studies in combating COVID and I believe that the vaccine that you have produced is really good for humanity," Duterte said, adding that he thinks Russia's vaccine will be ready for the Philippines by December.</p>
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