California will start its ban on the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles Thursday, which was first announced in 2020.
California is driving off the edge of fiscal sanity and policy reason with as much joy as Thelma and Louise launched themselves into the abyss.
The rule is expected to take effect Thursday following a vote from the California Air Resources Board, and is the final step in implementing an executive order by Gov. Gavin Newsom nearly two years ago to phase out the gas-powered vehicles.
The rule will also set interim targets to help phase out the sale of internal combustion engine models: By 2026, it states, 35% of new cars sold must be zero-emissions vehicles — an amount that climbs to 68% in 2030. Currently, just 12% of new cars sold in the state are electric vehicles.
“The climate crisis is solvable if we focus on the big, bold steps necessary to stem the tide of carbon pollution,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said of the effort on Wednesday. “California now has a groundbreaking, world-leading plan to achieve 100 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035.”
Frankly, the automobile and fossil fuel industry share part of the blame for this insane policy. For too long, they went along to get along, agreeing to jump through increasingly flaming hoops. Where are the ads defending carbon dioxide as a life-essential gas? Where are the visuals of the impact of lithium and rare earth mining operations?
As this policy is likely to go through, I see some dire consequences down the road. To begin with, there are already shortages of lithium, the essential component that makes up the lithium batteries that power electric vehicles.
The shortfall in materials needed to produce lithium-ion batteries shows little sign of subsiding anytime soon, as global demand for electric vehicles increases at a rapid pace.
So far global mining has not been able to keep up: There aren’t enough new mines and processing facilities coming online and new projects take years, if not decades, to develop, according to a panel of experts speaking Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“While everyone has net-zero goals, there is a disconnect between raw material supply and achieving that (electric vehicle) fleet,” said Scott Yarham, associate regional pricing director for metals at research firm S&P Global. “Demand is exploding. There’s no two ways about it.”
Next, electric cars require electricity to charge the batteries. In California, this can be problematic.
California has urged residents to cut power use as a searing heatwave settles over the state and stretches power supplies to a breaking point, in the latest sign of extreme weather conditions in the US west.
Temperatures in the most populous state are forecast to climb to well above 100F (38C) during the afternoon.
To prevent power outages, state officials asked residents and businesses to turn off lights and appliances and preset their thermostats to 78F (26C), especially during the critical hours between 4 and 9pm local time when demand typically peaks and solar power generation beings to ebb.
Finally, there are technical issues related to the end-of-life stage the batteries will ultimately hit. Electric vehicles lose a lot of their green luster at that point.
The battery pack of a Tesla Model S is a feat of intricate engineering. Thousands of cylindrical cells with components sourced from around the world transform lithium and electrons into enough energy to propel the car hundreds of kilometers, again and again, without tailpipe emissions.
But when the battery comes to the end of its life, its green benefits fade. If it ends up in a landfill, its cells can release problematic toxins, including heavy metals. And recycling the battery can be a hazardous business, warns materials scientist Dana Thompson of the University of Leicester. Cut too deep into a Tesla cell, or in the wrong place, and it can short-circuit, combust, and release toxic fumes.
These are just three of the many consequences Californians will face long after policymakers and regulators get done congratulating themselves for their environmental moral superiority. There will be so many more.
With the gasoline-powered car ban, California is driving off the edge of fiscal sanity and policy reason with as much joy as Thelma and Louise launched themselves into the abyss. #California #Gasoline #CarBan #Climate #ClimateScam pic.twitter.com/bbiZnRGxlZ
— Leslie Eastman ☥ (@Mutnodjmet) August 24, 2022
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