The Trump Administration is taking direct aim at California's global leadership on climate change. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to revoke the most effective tool California has to exercise climate leadership: its special authority under federal law to regulate tailpipe emissions more stringently than the federal government. California's use of this authority has led to the invention of automotive technology now standard around the world, including the catalytic converter. The state also used this power in 2002 to enact the globe's first greenhouse gas standards for automobiles. If the Trump Administration succeeds in revoking California's authority, California will find it very difficult to meet its ambitious 2030 greenhouse gas target. The attack on the state's authority will also undermine other states’ efforts to cut their greenhouse gas emissions as well as conventional air pollutants, since thirteen states follow California's standards in whole or in part. And the Trump Administration's revocation will undercut California's role as a green technology innovator by eliminating the strongest regulatory signal the state sends to automotive entrepreneurs. The last result is perhaps the most pernicious of all, because the state's role as a green technology leader has the capacity to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the world.
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