The world’s climate has been centerstage the last two days. President Biden and other world leaders have vowed to reduce global warming by making drastic changes. Will they follow through?
At the 2015 Paris climate accord, then-President Obama set greenhouse gas reduction at half what Biden has proposed. Former President Trump, Obama’s successor, did little to forward this, but is it realistic for Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president, to double down on Obama’s goal in a relatively short time frame?
With California and the Trump administration squabbling over vehicle emissions, it’s easy to assume that Europe’s green initiatives are progressing trouble free. In truth, things are a little more complicated. Europe has come together to endorse tougher emissions rules but one of its member states appears to be reaching its breaking point. Unsurprisingly, it’s the one that builds the most automobiles.
Earlier in the week, EU environment ministers announced a need for countries to decide on reduction targets for the foreseeable future. Germany has endorsed a proposed target for a 30-percent reduction by 2030, compared to 2021 levels. However, France and several other nations are pushing for a stricter 40-percent limit while Austria wants to see 35-percent reductions. Although, the most interesting thing about this is how closely Deutschland’s arguments for softer standards are to America’s.
President Donald Trump has said he’ll be providing his thoughts on the Paris climate deal in the coming days, but media outlets are already suggesting his take on the issue will be to leave it. Sources are claiming the president’s mind is made up and, to the surprise of no one, odds are good he will withdraw the U.S. from the deal.
Trump has already made it his mission to overturn as many Obama-related policies as possible and seems unconcerned with environmental issues that might stand in the way of potential manufacturing opportunities. Since taking office, Trump has been pushing regulators to rethink the United States’ auto emission guidelines, undoing one of the previous administration’s final acts in office.
Pulling out of the Paris accord would fulfill a campaign promise and negate the need for the U.S. to adhere to rigid emission standards — at the expense of further alienating the president from Europe’s leadership.
Toyota officials insisted Wednesday that its hydrogen-powered cars, such as the Mirai, will comprise up to 30,000 sales by 2020, and will help the automaker eventually reduce emissions from cars it produces by 90 percent by 2050.
The Associated Press ( via Detroit News) reported that the automaker said it would work with investors and governments to deliver on its promise of producing only a small number of gasoline-powered cars for small countries in 35 years.
“You may think 35 years is a long time. But for an automaker to envision all combustion engines as gone is pretty extraordinary,” Senior Managing Officer Kiyotaka Ise said, according to the AP.
Cars were banned from the city center of Paris for seven hours Sunday as that city finds ways to manage its growing pollution and congestion problems, Time reported. A group called Paris sans Voiture organized the event in an effort to bring attention to climate policy.
Buses, ambulances and other public transportation were allowed on city streets during the ban, however private vehicles were forbidden from city streets in a broad swath of neighborhoods and tourist destinations including the Champs Élysées, Place Stalingrad, Place de la Republique, the Left Bank, the Place de la Bastille, the area around the Eiffel Tower and the Bois de Vincennes and Boulogne.
The city will be hosting a UN Climate Change conference in December.
In a follow up to E. Niedermeyer’s previous post, details have emerged about the scheme to give rebates to buyers who trade “clunkers” for new, fuel-efficient vehicles. FT.com (Financial Times) reports that the program will cost taxpayers about $4 billion and will spur, according Brian Johnson, an analyst at Barclays Capital, the sale of 3 million units in the “near term” (whatever that means). With the US’ SAAR projected at approximately 9 million, this is a very optimistic prediction.