The impacts of climate change have become increasingly tangible for many more Americans as wildfires intensify throughout the west. In a recent interview for Inside Climate News, reporter Dan Gearino spoke with our own Dr. Austin Brown, Policy Institute Director, to help explore the increased policy urgency given the climate disasters we are experiencing. As Dr. Brown said in the discussion, “There is a growing idea in the research and policy communities that we’re going to need to accelerate action,” and that a key strategy is to reduce emissions in transportation supplemented with an increase in electric vehicle (EV) adoption. CA Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order to phase out all gas-powered cars by 2035 reflects bold action being taken on the state level to accelerate our environmental goals. In prior comments, Newsom has signaled the value of accelerated action and increasing EVs. According to Dr. Brown, successful growth of the EV market will rely on a combination of research, policy, and a commitment from the private sector to move rapidly to an electric transportation system.
In these unprecedented times, decision makers rely on the research community to help identify the policy pathways for fighting climate change while also addressing inequity in our systems. Although California leads the country in plug-in vehicle ownership and forward-thinking environmental policies, we still have a long way to go to combat pollution, inequity, and climate change. Policy recommendations from the Policy Institute, informed by research from the UC Davis Institute for Transportation Studies and other leading researchers, are key in understanding the path forward for the electrification of vehicles in the fight against climate change.