BIZ-AUTO-FUEL-EFFICIENCY-SIP

President Trump rejected California's proposal to reduce automobile emissions.

America is the land of excess, but there’s no need for excess emissions. President Trump’s slowing America’s ability to make environmental advances, and now, his administration is revoking California’s Federal Waiver to impose emissions standards. As a nation, the United States has a much larger carbon footprint than the worldwide average. The mean of global carbon footprints is 5 metric tons per capita of CO2 emissions, and the average U.S. footprint is 16.5 metric tons of CO2 emissions per person. Trump doesn’t realize that a major change needs to happen in America if anyone wants to continue to enjoy this planet.

Since 1990, California has had a goal to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions. Their eventual goal is to have 40% less emissions than there were in 1990. This project has been reducing the emissions slightly each year. The president and his administration are not only threatening California’s plan but also hurting the world. Trump is rejecting the Federal Waiver, making California vehicles and automakers follow the nationwide standard. The governmental requirements isn’t strict in comparison to the standards California wanted to impose. Trump claims that it’ll improve safety and cut costs for consumers.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom strongly opposed the president’s reasoning for rejecting California standards. Newsome referred to Trump’s claims of improved safety and cost cuts as “simply inaccurate.” Newsom tweeted, “Your standards will cost consumers $400 billion. Result in 320 billion more gallons of oil burned and spewed into our air. And hurt car companies’ ability to compete in a global market. It’s bad for our air. Bad for our health. Bad for our economy.” 

Clearly, there are more benefits to keeping the Federal Waiver, but Trump will be rejecting it. The President’s motivation for rejecting this bill must be to keep putting more money in the economy, because not improving car standards will cost consumers $400 billion dollars.

According to the Global Footprint Calculator, the U.S. comes in fifth place with 3.9 on the amount of Earths used. This means that if everyone on the planet lived like the average American, humans would need 3.9 planets to be able to survive. The gas emissions from our cars play a major role in our global footprint calculation/score. The U.S. can improve this; however, it starts at the top and ends with every citizen doing their part. The president needs to look out for the planet so every person can leave this Earth better than they found it. 

California state officials have filed over 50 lawsuits since Trump’s 2016 election. In August, California joined 21 other states suing to prevent the president’s administration from gutting restrictions on coal-burning power plants. Clearly, rejecting California’s emission standards isn’t the first time Trump has supported something that won’t help the environment. 

Even though California can’t enforce its Federal Waiver, automakers should do their best to try and follow it. As Newsom said, the national standards will hurt consumers and the environment, and it’ll hurt consumers by continuing to make them pay for gas over the upcoming years. Also, not having electric and hybrid cars as a standard makes the few that are made more expensive, keeping gas guzzlers as the less expensive option up front. Gas guzzlers will also cost the consumer more money in the long run from buying gas. It’ll hurt the environment because the gas guzzlers will continue to burn fumes into the air. Automakers have warned the administration multiple times about how starting a legal battle against California over car pollution standards could also damage the automakers. 

The national standard will hurt consumers buying cars, organizations selling cars and the environment. Experts have also raised serious doubts over the administration’s position that the new policy will make cars safer. In a study from last year published in the journal, Science, researchers said the administration’s analysis of its own standards has flaws at the fundamental level and has inconsistencies throughout. 

Earth has a finite amount of resources, and humans need to use these as efficiently as possible. With the rejection of California’s Federal Waiver, Americans can enjoy the extra 320 billion gallons of oil that’ll be released into the air. The U.S. needs to focus on how everyone can reduce their global footprint, and this starts at the top. It starts with having a leader who understands that climate change is real and our environment is important.

Zach Melusen is a senior communication studies major. Contact Zach at meulsezj@dukes.jmu.edu.