Climate Action

US agency plans to downgrade fuel efficiency standards

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in the US has announced plans to roll-back standards on greenhouse gas emissions introduced under President Obama.

  • 03 April 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in the US has announced plans to roll-back standards on greenhouse gas emissions introduced under President Obama.

In a statement on Monday, the current Administrator of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, said that “the Obama Administration's determination was wrong” when setting new rules for vehicles from 2022, adding that the standards were “too high” and the administration “made assumptions…that didn’t comport with reality”.

It also claimed the previous administration rushed through its evaluation on future greenhouse gas emissions before leaving office.

The EPA’s decision to weaken fuel standards for models from 2022 to 2025 means it will come into direct conflict with the state of California, which currently has a waiver to impose stricter vehicle standards than the rest of the US.

The Governor of California, Jerry Brown, reacted strongly on Twitter, saying “this cynical and meretricious abuse of power will poison our air and jeopardize the health of all Americans”.

The new EPA administration is currently re-examining California’s ability to impose stronger rules on emissions, with Mr Pruitt warning that one state cannot “dictate standards for the rest of the country”.

The announcement has also riled clean air and environmental campaigners who have long-accused Mr Pruitt of rejecting the link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. The President of the Environmental Defense Fund, Fred Krupp, stated that America’s standards on clean cars are the country’s “biggest environmental success stories”.

“We should be racing toward a cleaner, healthier transportation future. Instead, the Trump administration is steering us onto a dead end road. We have solutions at hand to build the cars of tomorrow. Strong clean cars standards will move us forward”, he added.

Recent figures from the Energy Department show that the transport sector is now the largest contributor to carbon emissions in the US, overtaking electricity generation. Cars and trucks now emit 1.9 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

                           Governor Brown took to social media to vent his anger at the news