For Immediate Release, August 25, 2021

Contact:

Scott Hochberg, (510) 844-7119, shochberg@biologicaldiversity.org

Biden EPA Urged to Strengthen Clean Car Rules to Protect Climate

Agency Proposal Contains Option to Take Stronger Action

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity offered live testimony today urging the Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen its newly proposed clean car rule to tackle the climate emergency. The Center argued at a public hearing that this make-or-break rulemaking can only meet President Biden’s climate commitments if it rejects the half-measures and loopholes in the current version.

At a minimum, the agency should have returned to emissions standards automakers agreed to with President Obama in 2012. But in the new proposal, those levels of greenhouse gas protections don’t kick in until model year 2026, despite carmakers having had a decade to prepare for them.

The hearing came just weeks after an alarming United Nations climate report, described as a “code red for humanity,” warned that only immediate, aggressive action to curb global warming can avert the worst climate impacts. Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the United States, with cars and trucks making up the bulk of those emissions.

“We just experienced the hottest month ever recorded on Earth. We have to drive climate protections to the max,” said Scott Hochberg, an attorney at the Center’s Climate Law Institute who testified at the hearing. “Automakers have the tools to bring down emissions faster, but they won’t do it unless the EPA makes them. Giving automakers wiggle room and loopholes is a fast track to climate catastrophe.”

The agency did include stronger options in its proposal that would get closer to urgently needed climate protections. For example, one pathway included 10% annual emissions improvements for model year 2026. The EPA has given no explanation for why it hasn’t proposed to adopt that standard instead.

The Center is calling on the agency to adopt that standard and close loopholes to strengthen its final rule, to be issued by year end.

Miami traffic congestion, I-95 North rush hour
I-95 North in Miami FL, afternoon rush hour | Source: Creative Commons

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.