Banning Gas Cars Is Good, but It’ll Take More to Save the Planet - WIRED

By Aarian Marshall


People must both drive less and switch to electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change.



Bike shelter at a train station
Bike shelter at a train station

WHEN A CALIFORNIA pollution regulator voted last month to approve a rule banning new gas-powered car sales in the state by 2035, its officials were hailed as climate heroes. With good reason too: The move will reduce emissions by nearly 400 million metric tons between 2026 and 2040, the state calculates, preventing an estimated 1,300 deaths from heart- and lung-related ailments. The ban is the first such move in the US and among the most aggressive climate regulations in the world. It underscores the Golden State’s position as a powerful proving ground for environmental policy. What’s more, an auto industry already excited about electrification seems to have taken the whole thing in stride. Experts say the goal should be well within reach, too; after all, more than 16 percent of new cars sold in California this year were zero-emission.


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