Take that, Trump! 5% of California New Car Sales now Electric

by Juan Cole Dr. Juan R. I. Cole is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. For three decades, he has sought to put the relationship of the West and the Muslim world in historical context. His most recent book is Engaging the Muslim World (Palgrave Macmillan, March, 2009) and he also recently authored Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) and many other works. He has translated works of Lebanese-American author Kahlil Gibran. He has been a regular guest on PBS's Lehrer News Hour, and has also appeared on ABC Nightly News, Nightline, the Today Show, Charlie Rose, Anderson Cooper 360, Rachel Maddow, the Colbert Report, Democracy Now! and many others. He has given many radio and press interviews. He has written widely about Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and South Asia. He has commented extensively on al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the Iraq War, the politics of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Iranian domestic struggles, the Arab Spring and its aftermath, and foreign affairs. He has a regular column at Salon.com. He continues to study and write about contemporary Islamic movements, whether mainstream or radical, whether Sunni and Salafi or Shi`ite. Cole commands Arabic, Persian and Urdu and reads some Turkish, knows both Middle Eastern and South Asian Islam. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years, and continues to travel widely there. 27.08.2017

Despite Trump having pulled the US out of the Paris Climate accord, there is reason to think that the US will nevertheless meet its obligations to reduce deadly carbon dioxide emissions. Although Trump is blowing up the Environmental Protection Agency the way a terrorist would blow up a building, the Federal government is not the only game in town.

California, with 40 million people, has 12.5 percent of the US population and a gross domestic product of $2.46 trillion (equivalent to the sixth wealthiest country in the world). And California wants to go green. As a result of government incentives, it is attractive to buy an electric car or plug-in hybrid in this state. As a result, 5% of new car sales in the first quarter of this year were EVs or plug-in hybrids! Half of all the electric vehicles in the US are registered in California. The state has a serious air pollution problem, and 38% of its greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. That sector, moreover, is growing in its environmental impact, since gasoline is cheap these days and the economy has improved, leading more people to spend more time driving to work (and high real estate prices in the places with most jobs also cause commutes to be lengthy).

Already, 22% of California’s electricity comes from renewable sources, and lawmakers are considering legislation requiring the state to be 100% green in its power by 2045.

It isn’t just California that is swinging into action as the president retreats from our responsibility to avoid climate disaster. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont will jointly cut power plant emissions by 30% between 2020 and 2030.

Audi is joining with Chinese solar panel producer Hanergy to put solar panels on the roof of its cars. These panels will generate electricity not to drive the car but to provide heat or air conditioning, tasks that otherwise drain energy away from the powering of the car. Models could be on the road in a year or two.

Rate this essay

Click the stars to rate

Recent Essays