California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, today led a coalition of 29 states and local governments to move the “Fourth National Climate Assessment” into the rulemaking records for the Trump Administration’s proposed rollbacks of the Clean Car Standards and Clean Power Plan. The Assessment’s findings reinforce the coalition’s arguments for maintaining the standards to reduce emissions and mitigate the harmful effects of climate change. The Assessment – produced by more than 300 federal and nonfederal experts, including representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and 12 other federal agencies – warns that without immediate action, the effects of climate change will severely harm public health, the environment, the economy, and national security.
“The Trump Administration can’t turn a blind eye to climate change facts staring it right in the face,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Its own National Climate Assessment is clear: It is time for the Trump Administration to bravely tackle climate change in the face of industry opposition. We can’t squander this opportunity to save our children and families from the overwhelming burden of climate change.”
The coalition’s action supplements its previously-filed comments earlier this year in October. The coalition argued in its letters that it would be unlawful for the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to move forward with their proposals to roll back emission reduction regulations for two of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions – vehicles and power plants – while ignoring the National Climate Assessment. The combined effects of rolling back the regulations would, in coming years, conservatively result in increased emissions equal to the annual emissions of 147 coal-fired power plants or an additional 127 million gasoline-powered cars on the road.
As described in the Assessment, halting emission standards would lead to catastrophic scenarios for every region of the nation, impacting public health, the environment, the economy, and national security. By pushing forward with the its misguided and regressive proposals, the Trump Administration would not only accelerate these frightening scenarios, but is in direct violation of its lawful duties.