Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and a coalition of attorneys general and city attorneys, led by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Monday to adopt strict standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions emitted from passenger cars and light trucks.
“The climate crisis requires us to take concrete action now, and tougher emission rules must be part of that action. As a leader in a city with 5 million automobiles, I’m pleased to continue to join A.G. Bonta and the clean air coalition to urge the EPA to adopt more stringent emissions standards,” Feuer said.
The coalition argues that in order to prevent the worst effects of the climate crisis, the transportation sector — which accounts for nearly a third of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. — must be a target of laws to reduce emissions.
It adds that failing to reduce emissions in this sector will lead to climate change effects that disproportionately impact low income communities and communities of color. Additionally, it said that addressing the emissions will conservatively result in between $86 billion and $140 billion in total net benefits.
The coalition said there were 22 weather events in the billion-dollar range in 2020 — the most recorded since the cost of disasters began being tracked by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The average number of billion-dollar events each year since 1980 is seven, while the average number since 2015 is 15.1.
“From record-breaking wildfires and a devastating drought to toxic and suffocating air that too many Californians breathe every day, we’re running out of time. We must act on climate now. Industries, individuals and governments alike must step up and work together to preserve our planet and protect the health of our communities. It’s going to take every tool in our toolkit to get this done, and GHG standards for vehicles are some of the best tools we have,” said Bonta.
The coalition added that the climate crisis will not only create more large-scale and costly disasters, but that long-term pollution exposure is associated with up to 45,000 deaths each year.
“We, therefore, urge EPA to expeditiously adopt rigorous GHG standards for model years 2023 through 2026. The technologies to achieve significant reductions are available, well-understood and cost-effective, so there is no need to wait to require further deployment of these technologies or to delay the massive economic and public health benefits of reducing these emission,” the coalition said in its letter Monday.
The coalition includes Feuer and Bonta, as well as the attorney generals of California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia, as well as the cities of San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Denver, and the counties of San Francisco and Denver.