As the global climate crisis literally heats up before humanity’s eyes, countries across the globe are taking drastic action to slash carbon outputs—many of them by moving to ban the sale of new internal combustion-engined vehicles (ICEVs). Some locales, such as Great Britain, have proposed merely culling diesel engines 15 years from now, while others such as Amsterdam have floated complete prohibitions on internal combustion engines (ICE) as soon as a decade out. And joining their ranks somewhere in the middle will be the state of California, whose Governor Gavin Newsom just signed a ban on the sale of new ICE vehicles by 2035.
“We’re facing a climate crisis,” stated Governor Newsom on Twitter, just short of a year after repealing California’s automatic loud-exhaust ticket law. “We need bold action. CA is phasing out the internal combustion engine. By 2035 every new car sold in CA will be an emission-free vehicle. Cars shouldn’t give our kids asthma. Make wildfires worse. Melt glaciers. Or raise sea levels.”
“Transportation is responsible for more than 50% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions. 80% of smog-forming pollution. And 95% of toxic diesel emissions,” California’s governor continued. “California will be leading the nation in this effort—joining 15 other countries that have committed to phasing out gasoline-powered cars. We will use our market power to push zero-emission vehicle innovation and drive down costs for everyone.”
Governor Newsom’s measure specifically targets the sale of new vehicles, and is believed not to forbid the transfer of existing fossil-fueled cars or trucks. More lenience will reportedly be granted to commercial vehicles, which the state will allow another decade (until 2045) to switch to zero-emissions power.
This doesn’t necessarily mean battery-electric vehicles will become the sole form of private transport; automakers haven’t yet given up on the hydrogen fuel cell as a zero-carbon alternative to the internal combustion engine, though the road toward the technology’s commercial viability will be a long one.
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