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Posts Tagged ‘clean air’

New California Rules Could Push Millions More “Clean” Cars on the Road

Industry officials largely supporting new plan.

by on Jan.27, 2012

New California rules would put millions of plug-ins, like this Ford C-Max Energi, battery and hydrogen cars on the state's roads by 2025.

California’s environmental regulators have announced plans to tighten already strict emissions rules that were previously aimed at putting at least 1.4 million plug-in hybrids and battery cars on the state’s roads by 2025 – a move that could add millions more “clean cars” to the total.

Though industry officials have expressed concerns for the technical and cost implications, a wide range of companies, including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and Nissan, told the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, that they’ll support the latest mandates.

The Final Word!

The new rules would require that by 2025 at least one of every seven vehicles sold in California would have to be a plug-in hybrid, extended-range electric vehicle or pure battery-electric vehicle, or BEV.

“We can’t afford to wait. We have to act on these issues now,” said CARB Chairman Mary Nichols during hearings on the proposed new rules. “Our projections show continued growth in population and vehicle miles traveled, which will affect air quality for years to come.”

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New CO2 Rules Are Mixed Blessing for Automakers

Benefits of one national standard may come at cost.

by on Feb.24, 2009

New Rules Would Limit CO2 emissions.

New Rules Would Limit CO2 emissions.

The White House energy and climate czar, Carol Browner, has just given the clearest indications to date that the Obama Administration plans to press ahead on both regulating CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act and on developing a stronger program for reducing emissions from cars and light trucks.

Speaking to reporters during a National Governors Association meeting over the weekend, Browner said that the Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of reevaluating its obligations about whether or not to treat CO2 and other global warming gases as official “pollutants” that would trigger regulatory action. Quoted in a Dow Jones Newswire story as saying that EPA “will make an endangerment finding,” Browner’s statements have sweeping implications for not only the auto sector, but also for power plants and any other industry that emits greenhouse gases.

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Obama Orders Fast Action on CAFE and California Car Standards

Proposed CO2 rules could force a big mileage increase.

by on Jan.26, 2009

Would new CO2 rules bar big SUVs?

Would new CO2 rules bar big SUVs?

As anticipated in our preview post early this morning, President Barack Obama today made some quick moves on the auto industry’s two biggest energy and environmental issues. Although he’s not yet named a “car czar” to oversee financial aid and other federal activities on cars, Mr. Obama established that — whoever the czars or czarinas of his administration might be — they’ll all tow the line when it comes to advancing his agenda.

Signing two executive orders, the president handed one to his Secretary of Transportation and the other to his Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. DOT czar Ray LaHood was directed to quickly finalize a new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rule for model year 2011, and EPA czarina Lisa Jackson was ordered to provide an expedited review of California’s request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

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Barack to Arnold: We’ll Get Right On It

Obama expected to announce swift action on California's request to regulate tailpipe CO2

by on Jan.26, 2009

CA Rules Would Limit CO2

CA Rules Would Limit CO2

It is being reported that on Monday President Obama will pledge a quick review of the Bush Administration’s decision last March to deny California’s request for a Clean Air Act waiver that would enable the state to put in place its stringent greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks.

On the day after the inauguration, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote Obama with such a request, backing a parallel letter from the head of the state’s air resources board to incoming EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.

Mr. Obama ran on “change” and the expected announcements appear aimed at making it clear that his administration is serious in that regard. Although it may take some time for EPA to formally review and reconsider California’s waiver request, granting it would deliver on one of Obama’s campaign pledges. It would also represent a tangible step toward stronger climate regulation, one that the incoming administration can take on its own, without waiting for Congressional action.

Automakers have continued to strongly protest California’s stronger standards, arguing that a single, federal program regulating automobile CO2 emissions is much less costly. They point to Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards as the preferred approach.

The state of California, along with environmentalists, assert that the stronger standards are both feasible and cost-effective, and would result in greater emissions reductions that those from CAFE standards. (This writer testified in favor of the California standards when they were up for approval before the state’s Air Resources Board in September 2004.)

The new administration has also said it will move quickly to finalize new rules setting CAFE standards for cars and light trucks through 2015. A draft rule developed by the Bush Administration had been all but finalized in early December when the GM and Chrysler bailout pleas reached Washington. At that point, the Bush team put the rule on old, leaving it to be finalized by the Obama team. (more…)

Latest “Clean Air” News a Bit, er, Foggy

by on Jan.26, 2009

L.A. Smog

L.A. Smog

There’s good news and there’s bad news to be found in a recent wire-service report that reductions in air pollution have increased the average life-span of Americans.

One aspect of bad news is that the wire-service report, based on an article in the Journal of New England Medicine, is so specific that it stretches belief: “Cleaner air over the past two decades has added nearly five years to the average life expectancy in the United States.” As always, the devil lies in the details. The researchers were not scientists monkeying with test tubes but statisticians trying to prove some conventional wisdom. The pollution in question was only that from particulates, tiny particles in the air from dust, factory and power plant smoke, and diesel-engine exhausts.

The good news is this means that exhausts from California’s and Washington’s favorite whipping boy, the internal combustion engine, were not involved. It also makes it a tougher sell for the mainly import brands planning to re-introduce diesel passenger cars to the U. S. market.

The JNEM report compared particulate pollution in the 1979-83 period with that of 1999-2000, identifying a roughly one-third decline for the 51 metro areas studied. Likewise, deaths from lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) fell, increasing life expectancy from 74.3 years to 77. Both are important items of good news. The research statisticians went to great lengths to account for the wild cards in such studies: smoking, demographics, ethnicity, etc. The 51 metro areas did not include Detroit, apparently for lack of data, and in a sense that also is good news.

And yet, anyone who has dealt with mortality statistics knows there are problems. Everyone dies of a failed heart. What cause of death goes on the death certificate, generally supplied by the undertaker? Can lung cancer and COPD invariably be blamed on particulate emissions? Suppose the deceased had spent most of their lives elsewhere than the final metro area. What about tobacco smoking, gasoline-engined car exhausts, burning leaves, secondary cigarette smoke, all the usual bugaboos on the activist blame train? True, the Harvard and Brigham Young statisticians who crunched these numbers did their best to “control” for such factors, but there are practical limits because of lacking data.

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