New Jersey is joining California in calling for a future ban on the sale of gasoline-powered motor vehicles to combat global warming.
The recommendation to stop the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles starting in 2035 was included in a new report from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which was asked by the state’s legislature to find ways to fight global warming.
Global warming has led to rising sea levels, which threatens the swamp the state’s long coastline on the on the Atlantic Ocean, the DEP report noted.
“Currently, gasoline-fueled vehicles account for over 70% of the transportation sector’s emissions. The 2019 EMP least cost scenario modeling, which assumed a 15-year lifecycle, calculated that 88% of new light-duty vehicle sales (passenger cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks) will need to be battery electric or hydrogen-powered by 2030, rising to 100% by 2035, in order to achieve the 80×50 goal,” the report said.
“This strategy coupled with complementary social strategies, such as working from home and the growth of livable, walkable communities, reduce the need for transportation, ensuring the New Jersey can significantly reduce its emissions profile.”
The report noted the risk to New Jersey’s coastal communities from sea-level rise is acute. “Warning that under even a moderate emissions scenario, sea levels could rise by as much as 5.1 feet by the year 2100 and 8.3 feet by the year 2150, eroding large land areas of the state, risking near total loss of our barrier islands, and devastating our tourism industry and larger economy,” the report said.
Recognizing the need for climate action, New Jersey’s legislature passed the Global Warming Response Act (GWRA) in 2007 and updated the law in 2019.
Under this law, the DEP is responsible for assessing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and, in collaboration with other state agencies, presenting recommendations for reducing emissions by 20% below 2006 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050—known as the 80×50 goal.
Last month, California Governor Gavin Newsom, in a move that is certain to kick off a major legal, philosophical, economic and political row, plans to outlaw the sales of motor vehicles that use gasoline or diesel oil for fuel by 2035 as part of its effort to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide that contribute to climate change and global warming.
The announcement came after record high temperatures and a lengthy drought exacerbated the changing climate have led to fires that scorched millions of acres from suburban edges of Los Angles to pristine wilderness in the High Sierra.
“We’re experiencing a climate CRISIS,” Newsom said via twitter. “Transportation is responsible for over 50% of CA’s greenhouse gas emissions. It’s time to be as bold as the problem is big,” he said. “Today we announced that by 2035 every new car sold in CA will be an emission free vehicle,” added Newsom, who speaks for more than a dozen other states that follow California’s lead on controlling emissions from car and trucks.
Car makers from the U.S., Asia and the Europe are preparing for a future where electric vehicles become the prevailing form of both commercial and personal transportation. Just this week, General Motors unveiled its new GMC Hummer all-electric pickup truck and announced plans to invest $2 billion to convert an assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee to build the first-ever all-electric Cadillac, the Lyriq. Meanwhile Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. confirmed it will invest $1.2 billion in a plant in Windsor, Ontario to build EVs in addition to its Chrysler Pacifica minivan.
Bans on vehicles with gasoline or diesel engines underscore the dilemma facing carmakers. On the one hand, they would prefer to keep selling vehicles with gas engines for which there is a ready demand. On the other, the bans could accelerate the shift to electric vehicles, which is currently moving slowly and leave them with billions of dollars in stranded investment.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has ordered federal fuel-economy standards rolled back over the objections of the state of California, which has gone to court to protect its regulations on emission, and more than a dozen other states. The Trump administration also has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accord, which set a series of voluntary curbs on greenhouse emissions by nations across the globe and other efforts to slow climate change.
Newsom’s political mentor, former California Governor Jerry Brown, was an ardent supporter of the Paris accord. California by itself is the world’s fifth-largest economy, capable of fashioning its own agenda, independent of the Trump administration, to fight climate change, according to Brown, who got several other states in the Northeast to follow his lead.
However, battery-electric vehicles will account for just 8% of overall fleet of global passenger vehicles by 2030; expected to rise to 31% by 2040, according to estimates by Bloomberg News.