What Latino families and businesses need is common sense in clean air discussions – San Bernardino Sun
Bureaucrats in a major state agency are beginning to take public comment and hold hearings on one of the most important issues facing California: climate change. Over the next few months, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will be reviewing and then voting on new vehicle emission standards and zero emission vehicle mandates, like when we should all be forced to drive electric cars.
But their ideas ignore the realities of Latino small business owners and Latino workers. The new policies hurt Latino families and communities and it’s time to speak up, especially because environmental activists keep claiming they speak for us. They don’t.
What CARB is proposing will make inflation even worse. It will add to increased costs. It will eliminate jobs and limit how many miles people can drive. It will even dictate what cars and trucks you can buy. We all must pay close attention to these hearings. Ultimately, we will achieve a zero-emission future, but narrowing the state’s focus on that distant vision cannot come at the expense of working Latino families. We’re the ones with long commutes who will be forced into expensive electric vehicles. Banning gas-powered cars in our communities guarantees only one thing: we won’t be able to get to work.
For our communities, a low-carbon future needs to make sense. Of course we want clean air. People who claim otherwise are lying and pushing a hysterical agenda designed to scare Californians. But we are also realistic. California’s economy currently includes 36 million cars and trucks. 36 million on our highways helping power the fourth largest economy in the world.
Look at the drivers of those cars and trucks. They’re Latino workers and our families. Latinos will be driving our cars for decades to come. Telling someone who proudly owns their F-150 that they now need to go buy the electric version coming out is ridiculous. What we need are smarter policies that help achieve clean air without crazy rules that only cause more conflict and increase the cost of living for everyone in our community.
It’s important to consider that California contributes only 1% of GHG globally. Further regulations should be affordable for everyday Californians and pragmatic so that other states and nations are incentivized to replicate them.
For example, low carbon fuels are 100% compatible with existing infrastructure and already reduce transportation emissions.
Renewable fuels, hydrogen, natural gas, and hybrid-ready engines are all cleaner and affordable energy solutions that increase and diversify our energy supplies while maintaining stability for families and businesses. Only relying on our aging electric grid to also power millions of new cars, trucks, and homes is a risky proposal.
What’s most insulting of all is what Governor Gavin Newsom says about those who cannot afford a Tesla; that they should take the bus and enjoy new bus routes—or worse, ride their bikes on the new bike lanes coming for poor people. That’s insulting at best.
My community knows more about getting to work under difficult circumstances than anyone—certainly more than Gavin Newsom knows. We are also committed to doing the work that helps protect the planet for our grandchildren. Nothing is more important than getting climate and energy policy right for the people of California and the world. But the bans and regulations from Governor Newsom and CARB are not the way.
CARB’s own estimates are that even after these mandates, 83% of all cars on the road will still be gas powered cars and trucks. Those vehicles will still need gas.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 it attracted attention from world leaders. We applauded the change and felt pride in California’s leadership. But Governor Schwarzenegger would never have banned gas-powered cars and told us to take the bus if we couldn’t afford an electric car.
We must return to sensible policies that work for Latinos. If you agree I urge you to contact CARB and make your voice heard. Leave your comment on the CARB website. Tell them to slow down and look at the facts in our communities. Our families should not be forced to pay the steepest price under these new California climate rules.
Julian Canete is CEO of the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.