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What's going on with Trump's emission rollback?

Last week Sir Cheeto was at it again, proposing we weaken the fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks. Its sounds small, but this could actually be his most impactful climate-policy rollback yet. According to estimates, this change in policy would cause America's cars and trucks to emit an extra 321 million to 1.25 billion metric tons. The extra pollution in 2035 alone would be more than current emissions from countries like Austria, Bangladesh and Greece.

What were the original standards?

The Obama-era standards required automakers to double the fuel economy of their new cars, trucks and S.U.V.S by 2025, which would equate to an average of about 36 mpg. Trump's new proposal would stop the implementation of those standards after 2021, which would mean the fuel efficiency standards would top of at an average of around 30 mpg. That 6 mpg is huge when you consider how many new cars will be produced between 2021 and 2025.

The old standards also allowed California to set up a seperate program that required more zero-emission cars on the road. Nine other states have also adopted this program, which requires roughly 8% of vehicles sold in state to be hybrid, electric of hydrogen fuel models. Trump's proposal challenges California's authority to to force zero-emissions cars and stops the clean vehicle program. This would slow the adoption of electric vehicles around the country, which is a huge hit for the environment.

How big of a deal is this?

Trump says the impact would be negligible, but most analysts agree that that the change to fuel-economy standards might have a larger impact than both his attempts to repeal the Clean Power Plan and his efforts to scale back regulations on oil and gas operations. Thatís big!

Transportation already accounts for one-third of America's carbon dioxide emissions, which makes it a bigger source than even power plants. Vehicle emissions have already been steadily rising over the past few years and there hasn't been much progress in stopping them, but federal fuel-economy standards are an important part of the solution.

What can we do?

Buy a Tesla. Jk! Not really. (Hey Elon, weíre accepting donations!)

This proposal still has to jump through some hoops before it can be enacted. If it does happen, states could try to create new policies to try and cut emission from the transportation sector and offset the effects of this rollback. California and New York, for example, already offer tax breaks for buying electric vehicles. Other states have been discussing how to expand mass transit and reconfigure cities to make them denser and more walkable. Still, state solutions take much longer to implement and often flounder when not backed up by strict federal standards.