All new cars sold in California by 2035 will have to be zero emission under plans set to be adopted by the state this week, as the biggest economy in the United States drives a nationwide evolution away from fossil fuel.
Proposals to be debated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) this week will formalize targets set by Governor Gavin Newsom — and will likely prod other states in the same direction.
The plans, which board member Daniel Sperling recently told CNN he was “99.9%” confident would be adopted, also include incremental steps mandating more than a third of 2026 car sales in the state be zero emission, and over two-thirds by 2030.
“This is monumental,” Sperling told CNN. “This is the most important thing that CARB has done in the last 30 years. It’s important not just for California, but it’s important for the country and the world.”
California’s more-than 40 million consumers make it the biggest market in the United States.
As such, rules imposed there impact manufacturers’ production plans across the country, as well as further afield, because they cannot afford to miss out.
This means California can, in effect, set national standards.
Still, despite the rush toward an all-electric future, little credence has been given to what will fuel the new technology. With the prominence of the electric fuel cell dawning on the horizon, California still needs a way to power the vehicles. Wind energy appears insufficient, leaving fossil fuels or nuclear power as the last remaining energy sources, both of which the left has opposed.
The likely ruling Thursday comes on the heels of a climate law signed last week by President Joe Biden, which sets aside hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives for clean energy programs.
Biden and his Democratic Party are rushing to make up climate policy ground they feel was lost under former president Donald Trump, who yanked the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord and reversed what many environmentalists viewed as already-weak progress in combating the fossil fuel emissions that drive global warming.
In recent years jurisdictions around the world, notably in Europe, have set their sights on the polluting automobile sector.
Norway is aiming to have all new cars produce zero tailpipe emissions by 2025.
The UK, Singapore and Israel are eyeing 2030, while the European Union wants to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035.