OAKLAND, Calif. September 23, 2020—Amid increasingly worrying climate impacts from historic wildfires, weeks of suffocating smoke and record-breaking heat waves, California Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California must be zero-emission by 2035. Emissions from cars, trucks and buses make up more than 40 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. He also called for the California Air Resources Board to pass rules that require all heavy-duty trucks on the road to be electric by 2045 where feasible.

Below is a statement by Don Anair, deputy director of the Clean Vehicles Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

There is no more time to waste. The harrowing impacts of climate change are already affecting people and communities throughout the state. The science tells us those impacts will worsen in the years to come without making major changes to how we move people and goods. Transitioning to zero-emission vehicle technologies and phasing out the combustion engine is absolutely necessary. It will be challenging, but California can achieve these goals by pulling all the levers it has.

The Governor’s executive order is a bold step towards reaching our state’s previously-set carbon emission goals. To reach the accelerated zero emission vehicle goals, California will need to invest in its transportation system in a way that is clean, accessible and equitable.

Signing AB 841 is the immediate next step the Governor should take. Additionally, the state should set strong zero-emission vehicle requirements for ride-hailing companies, strengthen standards for passenger vehicles, prioritize electric trucks and buses in communities most affected by air pollution, and make the necessary investments to support an equitable transition away from the combustion engine and towards zero emission vehicles, including walking and biking infrastructure and robust public transit options. We need to move aggressively and use all the tools available, including strong regulatory action, incentives and a state budget that reflects our ambitious goals and ensures a just transition.

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future. For more information, go to www.ucsusa.org.