Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Antitrust Threats Against Carmakers Who Seek to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

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The news from Washington on greenhouse gas emissions continues to get even weirder. This blog has covered some of the stories emerging around the efforts of car manufacturers to continue to follow  (more or less) Obama era rules on fuel efficiency standards even though the administration rolled back the standards. They agreed to do this in consultation with the state of California which has special rights in the Clean Air Act to set emissions standards separate from the US Government due to that state's unique geography and air pollution problems. You can read my background pieces on this issue here and here.

Now, according to this article in the New York Times, the Justice Department is seeking to bring antitrust charges against the companies that negotiated with California to set fuel efficiency standards. It is highly likely that these charges will not stick, but it does cool efforts to improve automobile efficiency at a time when there is growing evidence for the climate changing all around us. This cognitive dissonance is causing many to lose faith in the ability of the US government to act effectively on this important issue that will impact the coming generations.

As this opinion piece in the Times by Jody Freeman notes, everyone--the manufacturers, environmentalists, and the public--want the new emissions standards. We all know who doesn't. This level of petty tinkering is doing great damage to our environment and our way of governing.

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