Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 7, 2022


Scott Hochberg, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 844-7119,
Bahram Fazeli, Communities for a Better Environment, (323) 826-9771 x 100,

Eighty Groups Demand Gov. Newsom Set Nation-Leading Clean Car Standard

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— More than 80 environmental and justice organizations delivered a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom today urging him to strengthen the state’s clean car regulations. The letter comes ahead of Newsom’s State of the State address Tuesday, in which he’s expected to outline his top priorities.

Historically California has been the nationwide leader on setting strong emissions standards, but the state is at risk of losing this mantle. Under the current draft of California’s clean cars rule, the state aims to reach 61% electric vehicle sales by 2030 — only a modest improvement over the Biden administration’s goal of making 50% of new vehicle sales electric by 2030.

“Californians being punished by high gas prices and climate disasters deserve the fastest all-electric future Gov. Newsom can deliver,” said Scott Hochberg, a transportation attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “Newsom said himself that California doesn’t imitate, we’re a model to the world. Now the governor needs to prove the state’s climate leadership with a much faster electrification timeline.”

The letter calls on the governor to direct the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, to set a much tougher target to curb emissions in California and ensure an equitable transition to electric vehicles. CARB will finalize the regulation later this year.

“Aggressive and equity-focused policies that decarbonize the transportation sector are key to achieving our climate justice goals in California,” said Bahram Fazeli, director of research and policy at Communities for a Better Environment. “In this regulation, the Newsom administration and CARB have an opportunity to promote more equitable outcomes, exercise leadership on the world stage, and create good jobs while meaningfully contributing to the vision of lifting communities out the cycle of pollution and poverty. We urge them to deliver on this.”

The letter demands that the board make automakers sell a higher percentage of electric vehicles in the next several years and require steep pollution cuts from gas-powered cars in the meantime. It also calls on the board to promote good jobs in clean transportation and incorporate mandatory equity commitments to ensure that communities most affected by pollution reap the benefits from electric vehicles.

Last week the latest United Nations climate report warned that humanity has a “brief and rapidly closing window” for drastic action to prevent worsening heat, fires, floods and drought across much of the globe.

“California has to lead the race toward a zero-emission future,” said Hochberg. “Gov. Newsom and CARB now need to use their authority to free our streets from tailpipe pollution as fast as possible.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announces an executive order requiring all new passenger vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2035 on Sept. 23, 2020 in Sacramento. Image is available for media use.

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.

Founded in 1978, Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) is one of the preeminent environmental justice organizations in the nation. The mission of CBE is to build people’s power in California’s communities of color and low-income communities to achieve environmental health and justice by preventing and reducing pollution and building green, healthy and sustainable communities and environments.

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