News/Op-Ed: Governor Gavin Newsom’s Plan For A Greener California

by Zach Gardiner

As California strikes to make powerful statements on climate change, Governor Newsom released a plan that could affect the future of the state.

Newsom orders California regulators to end sales of new gas-powered  passenger cars, trucks by 2035

When it comes to banning all gas powered cars by 2035, Governor Newsom has become a celebrity when talking on the subject. Regardless of his silence when discussing California’s serious problems of homelessness, environmental protection laws have covered a big focus of Newsom’s agenda. 

Newsom framed the plan as California’s answer to climate change and as an opportunity to benefit the state economically. 

“This is the next big global industry,” Governor Newsom said referring to clean-energy technology, “And California wants to dominate it”. 

Part of Newsom’s plan has set a goal for all heavy-duty trucks on the road in California to be net zero-emissions by 2045. He also plans to end all new permits for hydraulic fracturing by 2024, earning the criticism of oil and gas companies and their workers, who have called for an end to his plans as they threaten the stability of working people in the state. 

Cathy Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, said she believed the Governor’s “ambitious” plan did not provide enough information about how the state would pay to build up infrastructure for electric vehicles, or how it would handle for how expensive gas would become for people who can’t afford to buy a new electric car. 

“I don’t see where A plus B equals C,” said Boyd.

Neither does the plan cover the transition for workers of the oil and gas production into green jobs, leading to her saying that there needs to be a serious conversation about relative pay. 

The Governor acknowledged that not everyone would embrace the 100% zero-emissions goal, but stated that nothing in his plan would prohibit Californians from owning gas-powered cars or buying or selling them.

“We’re not taking anything away,” Newsom said, “We’re providing an abundance of new choices and new technology, being agnostic about how we get to zero emissions, but being committed to getting to zero emissions by 2035.”

The Governor stated that the public’s action will help encourage greater innovation for clean energy vehicles by creating a broader market and will drive down the cost of those cars and trucks. More than 1.63 million new cars and trucks are expected to be sold in the state in 2020, according to the California New Car Dealers Association.

Newsom added that California is home to 34 manufacturers of electric vehicles, and that just under 50% of all the electric vehicle purchases in the country are in this state. Getting rid of manufacturing for gas-powered cars would ultimately help California’s economy and bring more jobs to California, contrary to belief.

Climate scientists and advocates say the world must stop the production of gas and diesel powered vehicles by 2030 in order to keep global warming at tolerable levels. California and other governments across the world are seeking to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, most likely taking years for vehicles to turn over and be replaced by zero-emission models.

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