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California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order on Wednesday banning gas-powered cars by the year 2035. The premise of his comprehensive order is that “the climate change crisis is happening now, impacting California in unprecedented ways, and affecting the health and safety of too many Californians.” In his press announcement, Newsom stated, “Of all the simultaneous crises that we face as a state and I’d argue as a nation — for that matter from a global perspective — none is more important, none is more forceful than the issue of the climate crisis.” His tweet yesterday morning states that the “time for action is now.”

Newsom is accelerating his response to climate change, in part, due to Covid-19. His EO states that “the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the entire transportation sector, bringing a sharp decline in demand for fuels and adversely impacting public transportation…” The order goes on to say that “California’s long-term economic resilience requires bold action to eliminate emissions from transportation.” 

The order has broad ramifications for multiple industries and public transportation infrastructure. Among these are goals to increase deployment of “fueling stations for cars, trucks, buses and freight-related equipment” as well as a broad reach into passenger rail, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian infrastructure. He also stipulates a focus on oil extraction as it “transitions away from fossil fuel, by working to end the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024.” While he did not order an end to fracking permits, he did pledge to work with legislators to end it.

Rich Pedroncelli, Pool/AP Photo

Governor Newsom’s order requires that one hundred percent of all in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks will be zero-emission by 2035. There are also zero-emission goals for medium and heavy-duty vehicles as well as drayage trucks and off-road vehicles. However, Newsom clarifies that he is not “taking anything away” but that he is “providing an abundance of new choices and new technology.” Governor Newsom’s Bloomberg Quicktake video retweet reassures the people of California that they can still drive, trade, and sell their gas-powered vehicles after the 2035 deadline.

Breitbart News underscored yesterday that “2035 happens to be the same year that former Vice President Joe Biden has set as a deadline for the U.S. to eliminate fossil fuels from electricity production, five years later than originally proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex (D-NY) in her “Green New Deal.” Ocasio-Cortez led the climate change panel on the “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force” earlier this year.”

White House spokesman Judd Deere said Newsom’s order will hurt the economy and is “yet another example of how extreme the left has become. They want the government to dictate every aspect of every Americans’ life.“ He added, “President Trump won’t stand for it.” In a White House press conference yesterday, Larry Kudlow, Trump’s economic adviser, labeled it a “very extreme” position that he doesn’t think other states will follow.

California can only ban gas-powered cars with the federal government’s approval. Approval is something President Donald Trump is highly unlikely to grant Newsom, especially given an ongoing legal battle over the Golden State’s power to regulate tailpipe emissions more strictly than the fed.

Nevertheless, Newsom is proceeding with his mission to make California a zero-emission state. Newsom highlighted his concern for the environment in this video from a tweet yesterday. He states that transportation is responsible for “over 50% of CA’s greenhouse emissions.” He continues, stating that “it’s time to be bold as the problem is big.” This will be the first state in the U.S. to adopt such strong measures.