January 31st, 2009 at 10:05am
Earlier this week President Obama instructed the EPA to determine whether it should grant California a waiver to set its own CO2 standards for cars. It’s a hugely controversial issue, and one that’s fraught with major problems for the auto industry.First off, cars and trucks account for only 18% of total CO2 emissions in the United States. Yet it’s the automotive industry that’s in the cross-hairs, and California’s rules are designed to “hold the automaker’s feet to the fire.” But even if it eliminated all automotive CO2, that still leaves 80% of other man-made sources untouched.
Besides, California’s standard will merely bring the federal standard forward by four years. What’s the big rush? Even more importantly, California only accounts for 1% of global CO2 emissions. So is it really fixing anything? And above all else, whatever reduction the state achieves will be immediately replenished by CO2 and other green house gasses blowing in from India, China and other points in Asia.