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Scientists say new U.S. EPA greenhouse gas standards for cars not strict enough

tailpipe emissions
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Scientists say tailpipe emissions from cars must be zero by the year 2050 to prevent the worst impact of the upcoming climate catastrophe

The federal government is issuing stricter rules for greenhouse gas emissions from cars for the years 2023 through 2026.

EPA officials say the updated standards are based on sound science and will result in avoiding more than three billion tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through 2050.

The new standards essentially backtrack, restoring Obama-era standards that were frozen during the Trump administration.

But the standard doesn't account for the four years of inaction during the Trump presidency, according to Dan Becker, Director of the Safe Climate Transport Campaign at the Center for Biological Diversity.

And he said "sound science" actually calls for a much more robust and immediate response to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars, SUVs, and trucks.

"The president is right - global warming is an existential threat," said Becker. "But these standards don't face that threat down. They're just too weak. What the Biden administration did is put a speed bump on the road to climate catastrophic where what they needed to do was make a U-turn."

The EPA is expected to issue a second set of GHG emissions rules for cars next year, for the years 2026 through at least 2030.

Becker says those new rules will have to do the bulk of the work to avert climate catastrophe, because this year's rules are so weak.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.