BUSINESS | Republicans criticize stringent vehicle emissions targets
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Thirty-three Republican lawmakers in an April 28 letter challenged a Biden administration proposal requiring the auto industry to accelerate manufacturing of electric vehicles. The rules, announced by the Environmental Protection Agency on April 12, update emissions standards beginning in 2027 for cars, buses, freight trucks, and heavy-duty vehicles. The EPA has proposed a 56 percent reduction in emissions from vehicles by 2032 compared with currently planned 2026 models. If the rules are enacted, the agency estimates 67 percent of new cars, SUVs, and light trucks, and 50 percent of buses and delivery trucks would be electric within nine years.
But Republican lawmakers questioned the impact of the restrictions on manufacturers, consumers, and the environment. In a press release, Rep. Keith Self of Texas said, “The Biden administration’s latest proposal to curb emission standards hypocritically ignores the significant environmental harm that EV battery production causes and their toxicity.”
Electric vehicles accounted for less than 5 percent of the new car market in 2021. That year, Biden set a goal that 50 percent of passenger cars and light trucks sold in 2030 would be electric.
Future of jobs?
Fourteen million jobs worldwide could disappear over the next five years as companies adopt new technologies, respond to rising costs, and forecast slower economic growth, according to a World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report released April 30. More than 800 companies surveyed anticipate businesses will add 69 million mostly tech-related jobs before the decade ends, but also cut 83 million mostly clerical, administrative, and sales positions.
Respondents said 34 percent of business-related tasks are performed by machines today and anticipate that figure rising to 42 percent by 2027. The fastest-growing jobs are technology-related, such as specialists in artificial intelligence and machine learning, while the numbers of bank tellers, postal service clerks, and cashiers are declining quickly. Jobs in education, agriculture equipment, and digital commerce and trade should also see large growth, the report said. —T.V.
Taxes on the high seas
The European Union in April added the maritime industry to its carbon emissions trading system to pressure shipping companies to abandon fossil fuels. Beginning in 2024, operators of large cargo ships visiting European ports will pay a tax on permits to release emissions, with the tax increasing over three years. Shipowners supported the proposal after the legislators offered about $2.2 billion to help the industry adopt alternative fuels. —T.V.
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