Planetizen Managing Editor James Brasuell tries to predict the big ideas and trends that will dominate the discussion about the future of land use, planning, and development in the first year of the new decade.
While hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles are much less popular than their battery-powered siblings, California remains committed to the zero-emission technology, with three state agencies investing in and monitoring its progress.
Auto manufacturers will offer more battery and plug-in hybrid models this year, and the nation's largest state is expected to approve a new regulation requiring medium and heavy-duty truck manufacturers to sell zero-emission vehicles.
Will a dozen East Coast states and D.C. agree to a regional plan that would likely hike gas prices through a "cap-and-invest" program to mitigate tailpipe emissions similar to what California has done for the last five years?
Lawmakers want to ensure that electric vehicles are accessible to all Californians, particularly lower-income motorists in disadvantaged communities. Unlike other incentive programs, participants must also scrap an older, polluting vehicle.
Trucks, which disproportionately contribute toward air pollution, will soon be subject to similar types of smog checks that apply to light-duty vehicles. A second bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom will spur movement toward cleaner alternatives.
Assemblyman Phil Ting seeks to dramatically increase the state electric vehicle sales rebate of $2,500, motivated in part by the phasing-out of the federal EV tax credit of $7,500. The bill rules out significant revenue sources.
President Trump is 'enraged' that automakers would agree with California in support of maintaining the Obama-era fuel efficiency standards, reports the Times. Mercedes-Benz is apparently preparing to join Ford, Honda, BMW, and VW in the private deal.
Overall greenhouse gas emissions in California dropped 1% in 2017, according to the inventory by the California Air Resources Board, which includes a 9% drop in emissions from electricity generation and a 1% increase in transportation emissions.
What is expected to be the nation's largest dairy biogas operation opened in the Central Valley. To the north, Gov. Kate Brown signed the nation's first bill to establish goals to add renewable gas to pipelines, and pigs in Missouri also made news.
President Trump made good on his promise last October to lift the E15 ban in time for the summer driving season. Not mentioned by the Des Moines Register are the downsides to allowing the higher ethanol blend to be sold during the summer, e.g., smog.
No issue is more important to California's air and climate regulators than ensuring that the state retains its ability to set tailpipe emission standards. Mary Nichols, the head of the Air Resources Board, has threatened to ban tailpipes.
California has embraced electric vehicles like no other state, with success reflected in increased sales and registration data, yet transportation emissions have increased for the last four years, primarily from light-duty vehicles.
In a powerful opinion in The New York Times, state Senator Scott Wiener and UC Berkeley energy professor Daniel Kammen make the case that transportation emissions are rising in the Golden States because of the shortage of housing in coastal cities.
The bill is directed at the medium and heavy-duty trucking industry, which, along with buses, account for 90 percent of the state's toxic diesel exhaust. Diesel emissions would need to be reduced by 80 percent by 2050. Will electric trucks be ready?
Ending the talks means litigation will have to settle the conflict over the two standards: California and 12 other states continue to use the Obama-era standard of 36 mpg by 2025, while the administration's rule freezes standards at 2020, or 29 mpg.
California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which requires fuel producers to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by at least 10 percent by 2020, has been opposed by corn ethanol producers and the oil industry since its inception in 2011.
Conventional thinking is that the auto industry, wanting to sell more fuel-gulping SUVs, are pushing for weaker fuel economy standards, but Hiroko Tabuchi, climate reporter for The New York Times, exposes Big Oil's stealth campaign.
Assemblymembers Phil Ting and Ash Kalra have reintroduced the Clean Cars 2040 Act with the goal of banning the sale of passenger vehicles powered by internal combustion engines by 2040, with the California Air Resources Board playing a lead role.
According to a new report by the California Air Resources Board, even if electric vehicle sales were to increase tenfold, it would not reduce emissions from transportation enough to meet a 2030 climate goal. A major reduction in driving is needed.