When I heard that Gov. Gavin Newsom declared that he was personally banning gas-powered car sales in California by 2035, I thought it was a parody from The Onion. How can a governor limited to two terms, who cannot serve past 2026, dictate by fiat what will happen nine years after he’s out of office? He can’t.
The whole affair is just political jockeying and placing bets on the Supreme Court (more on that later) because it’s silly to believe that automakers will rush to eliminate internal combustion powered cars now just because California’s governor says they’ll be banned in 15 years. Fifteen years is an eternity. Therefore it’s stupid.
Even the EPA thinks it’s stupid, but in its rebuke may be another alarm bell of what California needs to do today if the state is serious about its commitment to green living.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler wrote in a letter to Newsom, citing California’s power deficits and emergency requests to other states to meet its electric demand, raising the question “how you expect to run an electric car fleet that will come with significant increases in electricity demand, when you can’t even keep the lights on today?”
Indeed. California’s woeful problems with fires, power, and air quality stem just as much from its poor choices in fire control policy and focus on enviro-quacktivism as any possible global warming explanation.
For more than a century, people have been snuffing out fire across the West. As a result, forests, grasslands and shrub lands like those in the Bouverie reserve are overgrown. That means that, when fire escapes suppression, it’s more destructive. It kills more trees, torches more homes and sends far more carbon into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.
That quote is from a 2017 article published in Mother Jones, hardly a conservative bastion of climate denial. The consensus of scientists, forest management experts, and the U.S. Forest Service is that California has pursued a deadly policy for nearly a century, banning most controlled burns, failing to clear underbrush, and allowing forests to build up massive fuel. The fires over the last decade are nature’s way of handling the problem–everything burns.
California’s enviro-quacktivism has led to its own giant contribution to a massive carbon footprint, reduced air quality, and momentous property damage. Coupled with that are insane water management policies, and reactionary and illogical decisions to cleanse the state from nuclear power.
Wind and solar can’t make up the difference. And wind isn’t even remotely friendly to the environment. All of this green-ism is nothing but grandstanding and shallow politics, as is Newsom’s ban on gas-powered vehicles. If nothing changes, California will be back to horses and buggies by 2035, and then they’ll regulate the horse manure.
So what’s the real reason for the ban? It’s to preserve California’s special legal status under the 1970 Clean Air Act. Remember for years, watching The Price Is Right, they always added “California emissions” to the car prizes? Yeah. California had the ability to set its own emissions standards and therefore a huge cudgel to influence carmakers.
In 2019, the Trump administration revoked the state’s authority to set its own tailpipe emissions standards. California fought back in court. As the case winds its way through the federal appeals court toward the Supreme Court, suddenly, the absence of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett is in play.
So Newsom has ratcheted up the propaganda levers to put more pressure on either blocking Barrett’s confirmation, or to ensure Trump loses the election so the EPA under Biden will return to its enviro-quacktivist roots.
Meanwhile, if California doesn’t change its ways, it won’t matter what kinds of cars it sells in 2035. There won’t be a whole lot left that’s worth driving to as people exit the state like someone yelled “fire!”