California CO2 Regulation: Unscientific, Unlawful, Unaffordable, and Unsafe, CEI Warns

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<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273



Washington, D.C., September 23, 2004—Today and tomorrow, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) is holding a public hearing on its plan to implement a law requiring “maximum feasible and cost-effective” reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from new automobiles. In comments filed earlier this week, the Competitive Enterprise Institute challenged the rulemaking on scientific, legal, economic, and auto safety grounds.


The comments (,04218.cfm), written by Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis and General Counsel Sam Kazman, make the following key points:


·         ARB’s regulatory proposal lacks a credible scientific rationale. Global warming alarmism is based on hyperbole and fear, not science.

·         ARB’s proposal is prohibited by federal law. “Maximum feasible” greenhouse gas reductions cannot be achieved without mandatory engineering and design modifications to increase new-car fuel economy. However, the federal Energy and Conservation Act of 1975 prohibits states from adopting laws “related to” fuel economy.

·         ARB’s proposal fails its own cost-effectiveness test. Even if the theory of catastrophic global warming were true, the emissions reductions achieved would make no detectable difference in global temperature trends over the next 50 years. As environmental policy, the proposal is all cost for no benefit. Further, it will raise the sticker price of new cars more than it will lower operating expenses for most consumers.

·         ARB’s proposal will reduce auto safety. Downsizing and down-weighting of cars is the most likely means of complying with the rule. Lighter, smaller vehicles are less crashworthy. Federal fuel economy mandates killed between 1,300 and 2,600 motorists in 1993, according to the National Research Council. To the extent ARB’s proposal constrains vehicle size and weight, it will put motorists at risk.


“ARB cannot achieve ‘maximum feasible’ greenhouse gas reductions from automobiles without poaching on federally preempted policy terrain. It cannot achieve ‘cost effective’ reductions with any set of regulatory tools,” said Lewis. “ARB should brief Governor Schwarzenegger and the California legislature on the practical and legal impossibility of accomplishing the law’s objectives, and about the adverse safety effects of greenhouse gas emission standards.”