Investor Advocates for Social Justice

Tri-CRI Weighs In on EPA Clean Car Standards

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Affirming our longstanding commitment to reduce climate impacts of the automotive industry, in alignment with our shareholder engagement in the sector, the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment submitted a public comment to the EPA and NHTSA opposing the proposal to weaken the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.

In August 2018, President Trump released a proposal to roll back the standards regulating vehicle greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency. The CAFE rollback also proposes to revoke California’s autonomy to set their own, more ambitious emission standards. Tri-CRI weighed in to emphasize the need for strong regulation, both from the faith-based and investor perspectives, arguing for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to maintain the existing CAFE standards, or negotiate with California for one national standard in a way that maintains ambitious emission regulations and international climate goals established in the Paris Agreement.

In our comment, Tri-CRI made the argument that the proposed rollback would:

1. Create financial risk for US automakers as they potentially fall behind global market competition for more fuel efficient vehicles and grapple with uncertain regulations

2. Push global temperature rise above 1.5°C, causing catastrophic consequences for our planet and human rights. The recent Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) articulated the urgency of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5°C to avoid irreversible consequences. Maintaining the CAFE standards is crucial for averting this apex, and upholding Paris Agreement goals; and

3. Pose serious health risks to vulnerable communities such as pregnant women, children, people of color, people with disabilities, and indigenous peoples. As a faith-based organization, the Tri-State CRI believes there is a moral imperative to call for urgent action to address climate change in order to demonstrate respect for human dignity and protect vulnerable communities who bear the burden of climate change effects, yet are often the least responsible and the least able to adapt.

As always, Tri-CRI emphasizes the necessity of protecting vulnerable communities and mitigating human impacts of climate change. We believe maintaining the current CAFE standards is the appropriate way to achieve this goal and will encourage our portfolio companies to advocate for the same.

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