Our guest blogger is Dave McCurdy, President and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
You might be surprised to hear who’s cheering the Obama Administration’s announcement of a national program to regulate greenhouse gases (GHG) and fuel economy: the auto industry.
Yes, the automakers whose products emit about 17% of the man-made CO2 in the US are saying today that a challenging federal set of GHG regulations is a good start. We believe this is a solid alternative to a regulatory train-wreck of conflicting standards across different agencies and states.
The EPA’s recent finding on the danger of GHG has driven home the fact that we are all in this problem together. The Obama administration’s announcement drives home the fact that we are all in the solution together.
We now have a genuinely national effort to address the GHG produced by all emitters in order to reach tomorrow’s low-carbon economy.
But setting the challenging national program is only the first step. The next steps are crucial. A national effort of this magnitude will require a comprehensive mix of support for new technologies, investment in infrastructure, and smart regulation.
The auto industry has already been working on the technology – actually, we’ve been working on it for years. In addition to improving the efficiency of gasoline and diesel engines, we’ve poured billions of our R&D dollars and engineer’s time into hydrogen, ethanol and electricity alternatives.
While we’ve made a great deal of progress in those areas, we have also learned that there is no single “silver bullet” technology that will satisfy all of our energy and environmental needs.
Achieving the tough new federal program will require everything on the table…and moving out the door. After all, it’s going to take a lot of efficient vehicles to make a dent in total emissions. So, we hope politicians will commit to providing real incentives that enable consumers to quickly adopt those newer, more efficient vehicles.
But consumers are going to need the infrastructure to support this progress, and that is out of our hands. Government will have a critical role to play to ensure the infrastructure is ready for the commitments we are all making.
Finally, long term progress requires long term planning, and the auto industry has stressed that we need smart, consistent regulation – especially a national emissions program. This announcement by the Obama administration gives us that challenging set of national standards.
We thank President Obama for committing to be a leader on these issues; we congratulate President Obama for fulfilling that commitment.
Today’s announcement has confirmed that we are all in this solution together. We are hopeful that this is only the beginning of a comprehensive national policy.
A study conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication finds that 79 percent of Americans support a “45 mpg fuel efficiency standard for cars, trucks, and SUVs, even if that meant a new vehicle cost up to $1,000 more to buy.”
Further findings of the study include that 72 percent of Americans support a Renewable Electricity Standard, for “electric utilities to produce at least 20% of their electricity from wind, solar, or other renewable energy sources, even if it cost the average household an extra $100 a year.”