President Trump has announced the roll-back of the fuel-efficiency standards mandated by the previous government even as the country struggles to contain the coronavirus siege.
According to Worldometer, coronavirus cases in the US have reached 215,344 and 5,112 have died at the time of writing. Even as the outbreak continues to ravage the nation, US President Donald Trump has announced a new fuel economy policy.
This week, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation released new fuel efficiency rules for cars and trucks under the Trump administration that nullified the previous stricter rules mandated in 2012.
The new rule allows fuel economy and emission standards to increase by 1.5 percent annually in comparison to the current rule that requires a 5 percent annual increment.
The new terms will allow American cars to emit nearly a billion tons more carbon dioxide and consume about 80 billion more gallons of gasoline over the course of the vehicle’s lifespan than what was allowed in the previous ruling.
Even as the Trump administration aims to implement the new rule as soon as late spring this year, the former president Barack Obama publicly decried Trump’s decision. He also indirectly criticized Trump for his delay in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial,” tweeted President Obama.
“All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall.”
We've seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can't afford any more consequences of climate denial. All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall. https://t.co/K8Ucu7iVDK— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 31, 2020
Obama was not the only one to denounce Trump’s amendment policy and the timing of announcing it amid the coronavirus pandemic since it can further compromise public health.
Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) tweeted the rule “will lead to dirtier air at a time when our country is working around the clock to respond to a respiratory pandemic whose effects may be exacerbated by air pollution.”
“The reality is that this rule will lead to more greenhouse gas emissions, more premature deaths and higher consumer costs,” he added.
The SAFE Vehicles rule will lead to dirtier air at a time when our country is working around the clock to respond to a respiratory pandemic whose effects may be exacerbated by air pollution. https://t.co/Mv0OVeW27J— Senator Tom Carper (@SenatorCarper) March 31, 2020
Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University said: “It exposes the dangers of denial in a much more dramatic fashion.
“We may look back at the coronavirus crisis as a critical moment where we were all afforded a terrifying view of the dangerous and deadly consequences of politically and ideology-driven science denial. We looked into the abyss, and I hope we collectively decide that we don’t like what we saw.”
Some even threatened legal action.
“Gutting the clean car standards makes no sense. It will harm the air we breathe, stall progress in fighting the climate crisis and increase the cost of driving,” said Gina McCarthy, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council in a statement.
“We’ll be seeing the Trump administration in court,” she added.
Trump seems particularly determined to undo Obama’s environmental and climate change policies. According to New York Times, he has so far pulled out of the global Paris climate change accord, dampened policies meant to curb greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electric plants, and dismissed the basic science that helps establish environmental regulations.
- Read: Jane Goodall urges people to show ‘love and compassion for the animals who are with us on this planet,’ in COVID-19 message
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