SACRAMENTO (CBS SF/AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday, halting the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks in the state of California by 2035.
Newsom’s order directs the California Air Resources Board to develop and approve regulations to meet the 2035 deadline. He also ordered them to make a rule requiring all medium and heavy-duty trucks be 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2045 “where feasible.”
“We have been suffering through simultaneous crises (COVD and wildfires),” Newson said. “As a consequence, we have been challenged as a state, frankly, in ways that we have not been challenged in quite some time … None is more impactful, none is more forceful, than the climate crisis.”
He called the order a bold move to address a crisis that would only get worse.
The order comes as massive wildfires have burned a record 5,600 square miles in California this year. Experts say the size and intensity of the fires are aided by warmer temperatures and years of drought brought on by climate change.
“To be bold as the problem is big,” he said. “To recognize and reconcile that we can shape this debate, shape over future, that we are not just victims of fate. I make that point to make this point. A lot of us are anxious, a lot of us are feeling deep stress and anxiety about our future.”
“I heard a pundit the other day describe California in the last month as a nature hike through the Book of Revelation,” he added. “That’s self-evident to anyone who is living out here that is struggling with the heat as we are heating up, struggling with air quality as we are choking up and struggling with the reality of some 3.7 million acres of forested land in this state that has burned.”
Newsom’s plan would not ban people from owning gas-powered cars or selling them on the used car market. But it would end the sales of all new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks in the state.
California already has rules mandating a certain percentage of new car sales be electric or zero-emission vehicles.
Not everyone KPIX 5 spoke with regarding the proposed ban was happy about the news.
“I am myself am a car enthusiast and care about these kind of things, but most people don’t. And I think everybody who doesn’t care about cars should definitely drive an electric car, but leave those big engines for the car guys,” muscle car fan Johnny Ricci told KPIX 5.
Tim Coykendall was more positive.
“Based on the battery news from yesterday, it seems like something Elon Musk is going to have in the next three or four years. It’s going to be cheaper to have an electric vehicle than an internal combustion vehicle. I don’t think it’ll be mandated, I just think it’ll be more common,” said Coykendall, who plans on buying a Tesla soon.
Transportation expert Billy Riggs with the University of San Francisco said Newsom’s plan was aggressive, but plausible.
“This an ambitious timeline, but with appropriate investment in infrastructure, in battery storage, this is totally achievable,” said Riggs. “But I think we should be asking ourselves questions about are we investing in the type of infrastructure to support the renewable energy future that we talk about it.”
Newsom also directed state agencies to speed up development of charging stations across the state and called on the legislature to eliminate new fracking licenses by 2024.
Fracking is a technique that allows energy companies to extract huge volumes of oil and gas from shale rock deep underground. It involves injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals into rock. Fracking opponents say the chemicals involved threaten water supplies and public health.
California has a goal of relying 100% on clean, renewable energy by 2045. Gasoline and diesel-powered cars and trucks are the biggest impediment to reaching that goal as they account for more than half of the state’s carbon pollution.
Andria Borba contributed to this story.
© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.