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California Argues Case for Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Limits; Moves for Ruling

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States adopting the California regulations.

San Jose Mercury News. California Deputy Attorney General Mark Melnick defended California’s regulations establishing limits on carbon-dioxide emissions from new light-duty vehicles (LDV) starting in 2009 in US District Court on Friday.

A coalition of automakers filed suit against the regulations, approved in 2004, that would cut CO2 emissions from new vehicles by up to 30% by 2016. (Earlier post.) Automakers are challenging the rules as a de-facto mandate on fuel-economy standards, which only the federal government can set.

The state attorney general’s office has urged U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Ishii to rule immediately, while automakers want to proceed to a trial that is scheduled to start Jan. 30. Ishii took more than two hours of arguments Friday and said he would take the state’s motion under submission.

The limits on tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions is an important component of the larger state effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. California is the 12th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.

The state Assembly recently passed, and Governor Schwarzenegger is expected to sign, AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which is intended to bring statewide emissions of greenhouse gases from stationary (i.e., industrial and power-generating) sources back down to 1990 levels by 2020—an estimated cut of 25%. (Earlier post.)

Comments

BlackSun

Why would you fight limits on emissions, and mandates for better mileage?? The Big Three are going down in flames precisely because they build mostly trucks. They aren't building efficient cars that people want to buy. Now they are spending money on lawyers to protect their right to continue making wasteful vehicles nobody wants??

SJC

Ironic...huh? US auto makers have opposed just about everything that the government wanted them to do. Seat belts, air bags, steering columns, padded dashes, safety glass were all opposed as too expensive and not necessary. They said they would cause the companies to lose money and have to eliminate jobs. The fact that all automakers were required to do it and thus it would be a "level playing field" had no effect on getting them to do it. Laws had to be passed and then lives were saved.

Lucas


We could save 10,000 lives a year if there was a mandate to put on all cars sold in the US, something that came standard on my 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid.

Stability Control.

Ladson

U.S.automakers are behind because they haven't put money into R&D; and, you are right; they spent their money on legal challenges and advertisements instead. Truth is now they are a crossroads and I beleive they must merge with other innivative makers to catch up. That would be the Japanese automakers.

SJC

I read an article that stated that one of the reasons GM is talking with Nissan is to get Nissan to take over some of the idled plants that GM has. Ford has offered to talk with Nissan if things don't work out with GM. Ford has plenty of plants idle too. It amazes me that we allow management to run the companies into ditches, layoff the workers and give themselves bonuses for making companies profitable once again by laying off the workers. Maybe if we got some good management in US companies we would not have to lay off so many workers.

Gerald Shields

It's truly ironic: The automakers are suing against the very standards that could make money for them in the end.

hampden wireless

Too bad the big 3's legal departments get so much money. Probobly more then what the R&D departments get.

I think the Prius has proven people are willing to PAY to get better fuel economy and Toyota cannot make enough of them.

Roger Pham

The Feds has not done anything to improve fuel economy standard for over 20 years, yet the national security is compromised due to increasing dependency of foreign oil, and the national economy is compromised due to greater trade deficit due to increasing oil importation, and yet furthermore that global warming will prove to be a grave danger for the entire world...
The State of California should be applauded for having the good senses and the balls to do what the Feds should have done years ago...And sadly, the automakers do not have enough sense of national and global responsibility to refrain from filing such a FRIVOLOUS LAWSUIT!!!

dp

In response to the Frivolous Lawsuit comment above- The bigger they are, the harder they fall... and the harder it is to knock them over. Our American giants can only take baby steps, it seems.

Patrick

I hope this passes. My state has already linked their emissions requirements to those of California in regards to CO2.

shaun mann

what if it does pass? will it mean another set of tests and regulations so that cars have to be even more specifically engineered just for california, adding cost for everyone else without adding value?

most automakers already have to design their engines to meet at least 3 different emissions standards (euro or Japan (few sell in both), US, and Ca).

federal standards should be used by all states. I don't personally think the current standards are ideal, but I do think we should move forward as a nation, instead of splitting into factions.

if Ca is so keen on fuel economy being important, why not just add more taxes to the gas and add a state gas-guzzler tax for all passenger vehicles, it'd be at least as effective as regulation and wouldn't require lawsuits, additional engineering or any other dispersion of political capital.

the money raised from the taxes could be used to plant forests as carbon sinks.

SJC

California has Proposition 87 coming up in November. It would impose royalties on California oil like Texas and other states have had for a long time. The money would go to more renewable fuels, which would reduce CO2.

Lukac

California is showing its independence from big business here. If California can induce more big businesses to move their operations out of state, the people living there will breathe much easier. Commerce has had the people of California by the throats for far too long. California can do fine with government employers, tort settlements, and amusement park concessions.

The golden state is saying it doesn't need big business, it's doing fine without it.

wintermane

Actauly all car makers wewre fighthing it because it makes for a much more fragmented and costly market.

But in the end ford and gm dont actauly care. They are jetisoning thier american operations and concentrating all money on far more profitable venstures outside the us.

The main factors in this are

1 Labor costs and pension costs and health care costs.

2 A change staring back a good while in young buyers bias in car brands.. Simply put all the marketing in the world couldnt face up vs a bias for forien cars even when both cars are made in the same plant;/

3 Alot more money to be had in china and mexico and elsewhere. These are international car companies and they are doing good elsewhere. They wont risk the good markets to invest in a bad market even if its the us.

What responsces you have seen are american workers trying to not get fired as the companies downsize.

marcus

Lukac, I think it all depends on what buisiness you're talking about. For instance a big company like BP has thrown its support behind these changes. It all depends on what side of the CO2 fence you are sitting on and how innovative you are.

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