On August 25, 2022, California Air Resources Board and the Governor of California released their latest climate control fantasy. They propose to combat climate change by banning the sale of all new internal combustion vehicles in California, beginning in 2035. While this may seem like a step in the right direction, the new edict is so full of holes that a diesel truck could drive through it. First, people can keep driving fossil fuel autos long after 2035. Second, they can continue buying used fossil fuel cars after 2035. And last but not least, most people buying electric cars will dispose of their old gas guzzlers by selling them as they always have in the used car market, there to be resold to less affluent buyers in other parts of the country or world. This will guarantee that the discarded vehicles will continue spewing out green house gasses for many tens of thousands of additional miles and many more years.
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The notion that a mandate to buy new electric vehicles, foisted on California’s 39 million residents, could materially affect the climate of a planet whose human population is fast-approaching 8 billion is absurd. In a world where billions of people are striving to get to the point where they too can afford automobiles, heating, lighting, air conditioning, and all the other energy-consuming products that the highly developed countries have enjoyed for decades, much more is needed.
The Governor went on to claim that “California now has a groundbreaking, world-leading plan to achieve 100% zero-emission vehicles sales by 2035″. In other words, more of the same careless political exaggeration that does little but further undermine the people’s trust in government. So long as glitzy political promises continue to substitute for thoughtful political leadership, nothing of consequence will change.