Transportation Secretary Reaffirms Importance of Climate Action
By Elizabeth Gore
Last week Secretary Pete Buttigieg told EDF Action members that since transportation is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, “transportation ought to take the responsibility of being the biggest share of the solution.” What a great thing to hear from the Secretary of Transportation!
Secretary Buttigieg’s approach is exactly in-line with EDF Action’s advocacy work. We have spent the last year urging Congress to pass policies to encourage electrification of cars and trucks so that we can meet our goals of all new cars being zero emitting by 2035, and all new trucks and buses being zero emitting by 2040. Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan, and when we pass the bold climate and clean energy provisions in the Build Back Better agenda, we can do even more to help grow our economy and protect our environment.
And we’re in this position to enact these big and bold polices because we elected climate champions in the White House and Congress. The truth is elections indeed have consequences, and right now our families and communities are reaping the benefits.
If you weren’t able to join the event with Secretary Buttigieg – or even if you were and you want to watch it again – the event is available on our EDF Action YouTube channel.
Secretary Buttigieg highlighted the importance of putting people and communities squarely at the center of this work and prioritizing equitable policies that take into account historical burdens poorer communities and communities of color have suffered over many generations.
He also emphasized that more is still needed in order to reduce emissions and tackle the climate crisis, including passing the climate elements of the President’s agenda. All of which are popular with the American people.
There were so many good questions raised, which all speak to the importance of electrifying our transportation sector, as we work to clean up pollution and address climate change.
EDF is particularly interested in ensuring that the electricity used to charge electric cars and trucks is generated from renewable energy sources, like solar power. Here at EDF Action, we’re advocating for 100% clean electric power by 2035. This target is big and bold, but we have the technology to meet it and with the right policies in place we can make this a reality.
In addition to the work we are doing around cars, electrifying heavy duty trucks and buses is a critical piece of the solution. The Secretary shared how the DOT will be investing resources to help transit agencies acquire emissions free buses that will be quieter, cleaner, and create better options for workers.
We’re also working to make sure that the average consumer can afford electric vehicles. The Secretary noted that while the price of EVs is coming down, they’re still out of reach for a lot of families, which is why the tax incentives included in the Build Back Better agenda are so important.
And wow that is a lot about policy, but do you want to know what my favorite moment was? It was when the Secretary spoke about how being a father motivates him to continue this work. He shared that “there’s nothing like holding your newborn child or children in your arms to remind you of what matters and to reconnect you with why we do all of this.”
We will continue this work with our members and supporters, to fight for Congress to pass bold climate action, all with the goal of helping people and communities thrive.