Thursday's announcement by President Joe Biden included new targets and draft mandates. These are aimed at reducing carbon emissions and speeding the nation's transition to electric cars. The auto industry is being urged to ensure that half of all vehicles sold by 2030 are either electric or zero emission.
Before signing executive orders in January, Joe Biden, the US President, speaks. AFP via Getty Images
The Key Facts
The White House announced Thursday that Biden will sign an executive ordering setting a new goal to have half of all new vehicles sold by 2013 zero-emissions vehicles. Major automakers such as General Motors and Ford support the goal, and Stellantis released statements in support of it. Non-binding targets were set by the companies to have 40-50% of U.S. sales be electric vehicles by 2030. This executive order will also help to replace President Donald Trump's lax fuel efficiency and emission standards. It builds on the momentum of the 2019 agreement between California, five major automakers.
The largest contributor to U.S. emission is transportation (around 29% in 2019). If Biden wants to achieve his ambitious climate goals, reducing emissions is essential. A switch from fossil fuel-burning engines is an integral part of the president's strategy. Biden has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030 in accordance with the Paris climate deal and achieve a net zero economy by 2050. Electric vehicles make up only 1% of all vehicles on America's roads at the moment. It can be difficult to sell electric cars. Electric cars can be expensive and require special infrastructure that is often costly. Some consumers may not want them. Even though pollution is less of a problem, it still exists if the electricity used to charge them comes from a clean source.
Many activists view voluntary commitments by corporations to meet climate targets as weak and ineffective. The New York Times reported that Dan Becker, Director of the Safe Climate Transport Campaign at Center for Biological Diversity, stated that the proposal is based on voluntary, unenforceable commitments by unreliable carmakers. He said that auto companies can make a New Year's weight loss resolution seem like a legally binding agreement by making voluntary promises.
Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, stated that the company was not invited at the White House event to launch the goals. Tesla, the most valuable American car company, only sells electric cars.
Electric Cars are Coming. Electric Cars Will Rule the Road. (NYT).
Automakers embrace electric vehicles. What about the buyers? (AP)