The Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, which represents Honda and Nissan among others, is joining the federal lawsuit filed in by 13 California new car dealers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers against the California law regulating CO2 emissions from new cars. (Earlier post.)
It is important to note that AIAM members do not oppose fuel economy standards that apply equally to all manufacturers, are technologically feasible, and provide adequate lead-time. We are not changing this position. However, Congress has long-recognized that the creation of a patchwork of state laws regulating fundamental vehicle design elements would be harmful to the industry and costly to consumers. Accordingly, we are taking this action to uphold the principle of federal exclusivity regarding motor vehicle fuel economy.—Timothy MacCarthy, President and CEO of AIAM
AIAM member companies sell about 40 percent of the vehicles bought by California consumers.
AIAM’s argument follows the same line originally expressed: that CO2 regulation is essentially a covert means to regulate fuel economy, and that such regulations are the sole purview of the federal government. AIAM did, however, add an interesting twist.
It must be recognized that climate change is a global issue and does not lend itself to local control. Unlike tailpipe emissions which lead to smog, where impacts are primarily local, the emissions covered by the CARB regulation disperse throughout the atmosphere. Therefore, climate change issues are better addressed at the national and international levels, as appropriate.
AIAM seems to be acknowledging CO2 as a type of emissions that must be addressed, just not on a local level. In other words, although CO2 issues should be addressed, AIAM asserts that it is not in California’s purview to do so.
California, however, does have the right to regulate its emissions. I’m not sure whether AIAM’s line of argument will help or hurt the plaintiffs.
Meanwhile, more countries are looking to California’s regulation as an example. So perhaps it will be “addressed at the...international level” anyway.