Expert discusses proposed rollback of key climate change regulations

phys.org | 9/7/2019 | Staff
townskey13 (Posted by) Level 3
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The Trump administration is planning to roll back several key climate-change regulations from previous administrations, including ones requiring reduced methane emissions, much stricter fuel efficiency/vehicle pollution standards, and energy-efficient light bulbs. Here, Environmental Law expert Professor Deborah Sivas explains the regulations and how proposed changes might impact greenhouse gases and climate change.

Let's start with vehicles. How important is regulation of vehicle fuel pollution to climate change?

Transportation - Sector - Accounts - Third - US

The transportation sector accounts for about one third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, so vehicle fuel economy standards are a significant piece of the puzzle.

Last year, the EPA signaled it was ready to roll back Obama-era vehicle fuel-economy standards, which require automakers to meet the higher standard that is set by California to nearly double the average fuel economy for new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. California's Attorney General sued the Trump administration to stop the proposed rollback. Can you update us on how that case is proceeding?

Lawsuit - Trump - Administration - Rewriting - Evaluation

That lawsuit basically challenged the Trump administration's rewriting of the so-called "midterm evaluation" by the Obama EPA in 2016, which concluded that the industry was on track to meet the 2025 standard. The case hasn't really moved forward significantly. I think it was mostly filed as a "shot over the bow," to let the EPA know that California was going to fight any rollback and to ensure that the state didn't inadvertently waive any arguments about the applicable science. But new litigation is certainly on the way and likely to overtake this case.

Recent reports indicate that some automakers are not in agreement with the EPA's rollback and at least four are already planning new cars to meet the new fuel economy. What's the history here?

Kind - Rollercoaster - Auto - Industry - Standards

It's kind of a crazy rollercoaster. The auto industry agreed to the ramped up standards back during Obama's first...
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