US President Donald Trump officially declared Wednesday the war on California's greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, announcing it was removing the right to state to set its own standards in the matter.
“The Trump administration revokes California's federal emissions exemption, to produce much cheaper cars for consumers, while significantly improving the safety of vehicles,” the Republican president tweeted.
To add insult, the Republican President has chosen to make this announcement in the middle of a visit to the state led by his opponents Democrats, who wants to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change and who has almost always contested the measures taken by Donald Trump, a climate-skeptic who withdrew the United States from the Paris agreement in 2017 in this area.
The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, had anticipated the federal announcement, described as “political vendetta”, pledging to defend tooth and nail the derogation that his state enjoys on automobile emissions, granted under a law on the air quality.
“We can not afford to go back in our fight against climate change,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Photo dated 1958 in support, he added on Twitter that “California began to regulate its air because the pollution was so important that some people wore gas masks outside”.
Donald Trump's decision to bring California standards into line with those in effect at the federal level should also end up in the Supreme Court.
The date chosen by the real estate mogul is itself symbolic, if not provocative: the UN organizes from Saturday a big climate summit in New York, and Friday will take place in hundreds of cities of the world “strikes for climate “, organized by young people.
Greta Thunberg, the young pasionaria of the fight for the climate who must take part in these events, called Wednesday the American Congress to unite behind the scientists calling to mobilize against the warming.
And UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, for his part, expressed his “strong support for a decentralized approach to these measures” to fight against CO2 emissions.
– The air and the economy –
At the time of the presidential tweet, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had not yet formally released text detailing the revocation.
But Governor Newsom defeated Trump's arguments that the measure would not only benefit consumers, but also builders and the US economy in general.
“Your standards are going to cost consumers $ 400 million, fueling the combustion and release into the air of an additional 1.2 billion liters of oil, and hurting the ability of auto companies to compete in global markets. It's bad for our air, bad for our health, bad for our economy, “the Democratic official criticized.
At the request of the government, the EPA has called for the cancellation of the stricter standards that were adopted under Barack Obama's presidency for car models up to 2025.
But California had decided to stay the course and negotiated this summer an agreement in principle with the Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW manufacturers to adopt unique standards, an agreement immediately attacked by the Trump administration that triggered an investigation.
“We support federalism and the role of states, but federalism does not mean that a state can impose standards across the country,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Tuesday. speech to the Federation of Car Dealers.
The California waiver could create two standards for the US market: one for California and the other 13 states that follow, and another for the rest of the United States.
Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, the US government has amended more than 80 texts related to human health or the environment by invoking the economy, corporate interests or the purchasing power of citizens.