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A California lawmaker has introduced a bill that aims to ban the sale of vehicles powered by fossil fuels. If approved, the ban would take effect in 2040.

While at first blush it might sound like a ploy to draw attention to an issue, the man behind the bill insists it’s neither a threat or a publicity stunt.

“Until you set a deadline,” assemblyman Phil Ting said in an interview with Bloomberg, “nothing gets done. It’s responsible for us to set a deadline 23 years [sic] in advance.”

Under the proposed law, owners of internal combustion vehicles would continue to be allowed to own, register, and drive their car as normal, even after 2040. The bill would, however, end to new vehicle registrations for any car or truck with measurable carbon emissions.

California aims to join the likes of the United Kingdom and France by ending the sale of fossil fuel vehicles by 2040, though it would still lag behind Norway and the Netherlands, which plan on instituting such a ban by 2025 and 2030, respectively.

The issue of vehicle-caused pollution is, perhaps, more serious in California than other U.S. states. California is the largest market for new car sales, and by some estimates up to 40 percent of the state’s total carbon dioxide emissions are transportation-related.

In a statement on the bill, Ting said, “We’re at an inflection point: we’ve got to address the harmful emissions that cause climate change.”

While the bill would no doubt address a major contributor to California’s emissions problem, it does not address commercial transportation. In other words, the countless tractor-trailers that criss-cross the state will continue unencumbered, unless separate legislation is enacted.


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