business news in context, analysis with attitude

From Axios:

"California Gov. Gavin Newsom is issuing an executive order that seeks to eliminate sales of new gasoline-powered cars in his state by 2035 … Newsom's order would make California the first state in the U.S. to mandate the phase-out of gasoline-powered cars, although 15 countries as well as some major European cities have already done so.

"The move, if implemented, would mark one of the world's most aggressive climate policies to stem emissions from vehicles and promote electric models."

According to the story, "Newsom's order demands that state regulators craft rules that require increasing sales of zero-emissions passenger cars and trucks, reaching the phase-out of sales of new fossil fueled-vehicles by 2035.

"The order, which seeks to grow sales of climate-friendly vehicles over time, also seeks regulations with a target of all new medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses sold or operated in the state being zero emissions by 2045 where it's 'feasible'."

The White House said it "won't stand for" the ban, though it was unclear what form its opposition would take.

Axios says that "the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group representing big automakers, touted its members' increasing offerings of electric vehicles, but said, 'neither mandates nor bans build successful markets'."

KC's View:

I'm not sure that political opposition from Washington right now means all that much - this executive order sets a goal that is 15 years away, and who knows what the political power structure in DC will look like then.  (On the other hand, we may be at the tail end of Donald Trump's fifth term …)

What California's leaders clearly are worried about is that 15 years from now, the wildfires that were at least in part enabled by climate change will have gotten much worse, with an enormous impact on the state's economy. (It is, after all, the world's fifth largest economy when seen on its own - so this is a big and consequential deal.)

While some say that this move could cost jobs, it also seems possible that it will create jobs.  There will be a domino effect - what happens to all the gas stations and the people who work in them? - but again, there may well be compensating growth in other areas.

I keep remembering that just a few months ago, there were cities experiencing the cleanest air in their recent histories because commuting had been so curtailed by the pandemic.  In the past week, there have been cities in the US that have had the worst air quality on the planet because of the wildfires.  These are not apples-to-apples situations, but it does show how quickly things can change, and why it is important to learn from history and science, and take advantage of the opportunities we are given by design or circumstance.