January 31, 2017

Chao Must Continue Progress on Climate, Build Cleaner and Fairer Transportation System

Statement from Michelle Robinson, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (January 25, 2017)—Elaine Chao has been approved by the Senate to be the new Secretary of Transportation. It’s a position that comes with big responsibilities, including the responsibility to cut oil use and reduce the risk of climate change, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Michelle Robinson, director of the Clean Vehicles Program at UCS.

“Secretary of Transportation is an important job, and it’s essential that, as she takes the reins, Secretary Chao has the right priorities. Transportation is now the biggest contributor to U.S. carbon emissions—the Department of Transportation has a special responsibility to cut oil use, reducing the risk of climate change.

“In particular, vehicle fuel economy standards have been a success, and we need to keep moving forward with this policy. Automakers are meeting and even exceeding fuel economy standards, and American drivers are reaping the benefits, spending less at the pump and emitting less carbon pollution. America’s automakers are innovating to produce more efficient cars in every class, keeping them competitive in a global market. It would be a big mistake to reverse the success of this policy.

“Transportation is changing rapidly, and we have to make sure those changes leave us better off—with safer, healthier communities, equitable access to transportation and lower carbon pollution. We have the technologies to get there, but we need policies that move us in the right direction. We’ll be watching closely to see if Secretary Chao will provide that leadership.” 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.