It’s surprising that there has been so little reaction or pushback since Oregon state rule makers on Monday went ahead with their plan to ban sales of piston-driven cars and pickups starting in 2035.
Maybe the reason is the effective date, almost 12 years from now. Maybe the people normally paying attention to the news are of an age when 12 years seems far away, or in the opposite case when they expect no longer to be around.
It would be ideal if our rule makers were limited to making rules only for now and next year. Then everybody would feel the effect right away.
Before the Environmental Quality Commission voted 3-1 to adopt the new rule on zero-emission cars, it did receive a number of critical comments. But it brushed them aside.
For instance, somebody offered this comment, as reproduced on the new rule’s website:
“Emissions from India and China are contributing the problem. Banning cars will
not have an effect in Oregon, must less have an effect worldwide. Oregon is simply too small to
have ANY impact on the future of global warming, and it makes no sense for government to
punish Oregon citizens to achieve something so amorphous and far into the future. Pollution in
Oregon is low, and Oregonians’ contribution to global warming is minuscule. Even if every
Oregonian cut their emissions to zero there would be no measurable impact on global carbon.”
The Department of Enrivonmental Quality’s response:
“Thank you for your comment. DEQ disagrees with the commenters that the rules
will not have an effect in Oregon. The proposed rules are anticipated to reduce CO2 emissions
between 48 MMT and 54.1 MMT per year by 2040. These reductions will improve climate
outcomes in Oregon while ensuring vulnerable communities are not continuing to experience
the harmful effects of climate change. Even incremental GHG reductions can help and without
an integrated effort by states and countries, the world will continue to experience global
And: “No, we did not make changes to address this comment.”
In other words, thanks but get lost.
The new rule takes effect not all at once in 2035. It requires increasing percentages of zero-emission vehicles to be sold in Oregon starting with the 2026 model year, ending with 100 percent of sales in 2035.
What if car makers and sellers fail to keep up? Or what if Oregonians don’t buy the zero-emission vehicles that are for sale? Or if they start buying gas-powered vehicles from dealers in Idaho?
The state commission left itself a possible way out. The rule calls for a status check and evaluation in 2030. Then, whoever is in charge in Salem can either get tough or call the whole thing off. (hh)