For Immediate Release
Obama Admin Moves Forward in Regulating Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Center for Biological Diversity Hails Historic First Step And Calls for Stronger Standards
WASHINGTON - The Department of
Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency today teamed up to
announce details of the first national plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions
from cars, light-duty trucks and SUVs.
Together, these vehicles are responsible for almost 60 percent of all
greenhouse gas emissions. According to the EPA, if implemented the
rule would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 950 million metric tons and save
some 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the covered vehicles when
compared to a business-as-usual approach.
“The proposal to regulate greenhouse gas
emissions from vehicles under the Clean Air Act is a historic step in the fight
against global warming,” said Vera
Pardee, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological
Diversity. “The Clean Air Act is our strongest and most successful tool for
reducing air pollution, and will now be put to work together with our fuel
economy law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect the air we breathe, and
save consumers money.”
The proposal is the first time greenhouse gas
emissions will be regulated under the Clean Air Act, and it will have a
significant impact in slowing the rise of U.S.
emissions. But the proposed
standards will still leave the U.S. far short of the vehicle
standards already achieved today by other countries and needed to avert
dangerous levels of global warming.
The proposed rule also increases national
gas-mileage standards for these vehicles by about 5% per year with the standard
reaching 35.5 mpg for model year 2016, ahead of the existing deadline to achieve
35 mpg by 2020. Despite the
increase, the Administration’s proposal even for 2016 fails to accomplish what
the European Union, Japan and
China are achieving today, at
approximately 43.3, 42.6 mpg and 35.8 mpg, respectively. Until the standards are further
strengthened, the battered U.S. auto industry will likely remain
last among its international rivals.
In November 2007, the Center for Biological
Diversity, other NGOs and over a dozen states won a landmark court victory
overturning the Bush administration’s fuel economy standards for model years
2008-2011, in part because of the administration’s failure to consider the
impact of greenhouse gas emissions from the regulated vehicles. New, but still inadequate standards for
model year 2011 were proposed by the Bush administration and finalized by the
Obama administration, and once again challenged by the Center for Biological
Diversity in court in April, 2009.
“While today’s proposal can and should be
strengthened, we hope that it marks a turning point away from the fundamentally
flawed approach to fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions used in the past,
towards the rapid progress we can and must achieve to reduce greenhouse
pollution and slow global warming,” said Pardee.
Figure 1: Fuel Economy by Country/Region.
Source: Actual and Projected Fuel Economy for New Passenger Vehicles by
Country/Region, 2002-2020, ICCT (May, 2009); Bush proposal for 2011-2015 and
the Obama proposals for 2011-2016 have been added to the ICCT
Further information from the agencies is
At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.