The giant Democratic state made the environment a battle of its own during the campaign. And this could favor the Republicans.
The climate crisis also enters the agitated electoral campaign that the United States is experiencing, while California suffers the biggest fires in its history and record temperatures that have prompted an ultimatum: to ban the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles from 2035.
The drastic measure, announced a few weeks ago by Governor Gavin Newsom, pits the richest and most inhabited state in the US against President Donald Trump, who after abandoning the Paris Agreement prevented California to impose its own standards against polluting emissions, for decades more strict than the rest of the country.
“Every president, from Nixon to Obama, Democrats and Republicans, has agreed that California should apply more aggressive measures because we have more impact on pollution. This Administration is the first that has not, “explains Hector De La Torre, a member of the California Air Resources Board.
Newsom took Trump’s decision to court in one more chapter of the enmity between the conservative president and progressive California, a territory that has made the environment its particular battle during the electoral race, which may influence the outcome of the elections in key states.
More than 40 million inhabitants and an economy that if it were independent would be between Germany and France, California is presented as the standard bearer in the fight against the climate crisis that the US government has denied for four years.
The little sympathy that Trump feels for the West Coast is so public that he himself mentions the problems it faces (fires, housing crisis, high cost of living …) as an example of the consequences of a progressive government in the United States.
For California authorities, where a conservative president does not win since 1992, Trump’s policy is A setback in critical areas.
“We have a perspective that includes science and evidence that climate change it is real“his governor snapped at Trump during a televised meeting in mid-September.
The president visited Northern California in the middle of its worst fire season: it has already registered five of the ten largest fires in its history and in advance, since in previous years the strongest were in October and November.
In August, the Los Angeles and Death Valley thermometers registered record temperatures.
“It will begin to cool down, just watch,” the president responded to the technicians who asked him to recognize climate change.
Instead of a meeting between the authorities of the same country, the conversation seemed like a summit of two leaders with visions and cultures completely antagonistic. America’s fracture at its best.
Equally antagonistic was the agreement that the California Government signed this year, on its own, with five automakers representing 30% of the US market (Ford, Honda, BMW, Volkswagen and Volvo) to commit to the goals. of the state, in opposition to the Trump Administration.
“Many European countries have similar measures, we are more in line with the world vehicle market than the United States,” says De La Torre.
A survey by the California Institute of Public Policy already determined in 2018 that 54% of the inhabitants consider that the state should be a global leader in the environment. Support rises to 67% among Democratic voters and falls to 23% in the Republican circle.
“Californians are more likely than Americans to say that global warming is extremely or very important to them and most are willing to make major changes to their lifestyle,” said Mark Baldassare, director of the institution, of another study. made this summer.