Auto Companies Join Trump Lawsuit, Undermining Fight Against Climate Change

Statement by Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Oct 29, 2019

WASHINGTON (October 29, 2109)—A group of major automakers, led by GM, Toyota and Fiat-Chrysler, announced plans to join the Trump administration’s effort to take away the ability of California and other states to set their own pollution standards for cars sold in their states. This is a clear attack on long-standing state authority, and marks a retreat from the battle to reduce oil use and fight climate change, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of UCS.

“By siding with the Trump administration and against 14 states, these automakers are knowingly undermining one of the most effective climate policies on the books. They’ve made the choice to pursue a short-term alliance with the Trump administration in defiance of the Clean Air Act and their obligation to build cleaner, more efficient cars, an obligation they agreed to years ago when they faced bankruptcy and received federal help.

“What’s perhaps even worse, these automakers have the gall to say that they are doing this to support one national standard. In fact, we have one national standard right now, carefully and collaboratively built by federal agencies, states and automakers. That standard is working to cut emissions, save drivers money at the pump, and give consumers a choice of innovative, efficient cars. The only reason that there is now a divergence between the federal and state standard is that the Trump administration has decided to weaken that standard, while California and other states have held firm, knowing that auto companies will need to continually improve in order to compete in a carbon-conscious world and that the best available science shows that automakers can cost-effectively meet that challenge.

“The actions of GM, Toyota, and Chrysler stand in stark contrast to other automakers who are working constructively with state leaders and committing to stronger standards, including Honda, Ford, VW, and BMW. These automakers accept the reality that strong emissions standards are feasible and necessary.

“The automakers who are siding with Trump by opposing states’ authority under the Clean Air Act are making a mockery of their stated commitment to fight climate change.”