Trump vs. clean California air

This week’s cover story documents a raft of technological breakthroughs, and the role Sacramento is playing in bringing them to reality.

This stuff, which does not come without cost or risk, could radically change the way we get around. As importantly, it could dramatically reduce the damage that the transportation sector does to the environment—which is profound.

For most of the past two decades, the worst contributors to greenhouse gas emissions have been power plants producing electricity for homes, factories, etc. Last year, transportation surpassed power generation as the deadliest industry.

Things would be a lot worse if it were not for the state of California. Many of the air-scrubbing technological advances we’ve seen over the past four decades came in response to policies passed by California legislatures and signed by California governors. Federal laws such as the Clean Air Act helped a lot, but California has been leading the way.

Just a few days ago, Pres. Trump took steps to put an end to our state’s ability to control its destiny, and influence that of the world’s. The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that “the Trump administration will seek to revoke California’s authority to regulate automobile emissions—including its mandate for electric-car sales—in a proposed revision of Obama-era standards.”

The same day’s news brings stories about weird weather around the globe, including deadly fires in Athens and Sweden. The situation has never been so obviously dire. Reversing course on technological progress now is insane.