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California Prepares for Legal Battle with Trump over Environment | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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US President Donald Trump holds up an executive order on ‘energy independence,’ eliminating Obama-era climate change regulations, during a signing ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in Washington, U.S., March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

California is heading toward a legal showdown with the US administration after President Donald Trump signed an executive order rolling back key Obama-era measures to combat climate change.

“Gutting #CPP is a colossal mistake and defies science itself,” California Governor Jerry Brown said in a tweet, referring to the Clean Power Plan aimed at curbing global warming.

“Erasing climate change may take place in Donald Trump’s mind, but nowhere else,” he added.

Trump insists the executive order will benefit American workers, notably coal miners.

But the measure has environmental groups and officials in California — which has led the fight to curb climate change and has the largest automobile market in the country — up in arms and vowing a showdown.

Brown has led California’s climate change crusade, which saw the state in the last decade significantly slash its yearly climate-warming emissions by about 35 million metric tons.

It has pledged to cut them even further by 2020, with other states looking to follow suit.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined Brown in saying on Tuesday that Trump would meet with fierce resistance over his new directive.

“No matter what happens in Washington, we will work to meet our Sustainable City Plan goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, move toward zero emissions transportation, and pursue our vision of a 100 percent clean energy future,” the mayor said.

Although the federal government sets emission standards for cars in the United States, that is not the case in car-crazy California. In 1970, the state struck an agreement to adopt stricter air quality rules to combat the smog that plagues the vast Los Angeles metropolitan area.

While the auto industry initially pushed back at the stricter measures, today the state has more than half of the plug-in electric cars in the country.

But there are fears that this could change, should Trump — who has called global warming a hoax — direct the Environmental Protection Agency to roll back on the state’s special waiver for tougher emissions rules.

California leaders have already said that they would not go down without a fight and have vowed to push forth with even stricter measures.

Laurent Fabius, the French politician who chaired talks on a landmark, global climate change deal in 2015, also denounced Trump’s moves.

“The initial decisions from the new US president’s administration concerning the battle against global warming
constitute a very serious step backwards,” Fabius said in a statement.

Fabius added that such moves were contrary to measures adopted in the December 2015 agreement, known as the COP21 accord.