Here comes the EV backlash

Here comes the EV backlash

Presented by Chevron

New and used cars are displayed for sale at an automobile dealership in Glendale, Calif.

Cars are displayed for sale at an automobile dealership in Glendale, Calif. | Mario Tama/Getty Images

The battle against electric cars is turning into a campaign issue for conservative politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, a development that threatens to neuter the climate benefits of moving away from gasoline.

Some European countries and the U.K. have already walked back policies aimed at combating climate change, amid a wave of populist resistance to green initiatives, write Suzanne Lynch, David Ferris, James Bikales and Timothy Cama.

In the U.S., former President Donald Trump and his Republican rivals are ramping up their anti-EV rhetoric, while GOP-led local and state governments such as Texas are imposing fees and other burdens that could make it harder to own an electric car.

The EV backlash is threatening to kneecap an industry that’s largely considered key to weaning the world off the fossil fuels that are playing a leading role in warming the planet. It comes as automakers, battery companies and governments are busy investing billions of dollars into the transition to battery-powered transportation.

Part of that transition is a response to President Joe Biden’s climate law, which offers U.S. tax incentives for domestic supply chains for electric vehicles. Biden has argued that the law will allow the country to green its transportation sector without relying on foreign countries such as China.

On message
Skipping the second Republican primary debate, Trump visited Michigan last week where he lampooned the Biden administration’s “draconian and indefensible” electric vehicle policies. He said abandoning the internal combustion engine would be “a transition to unemployment and inflation without end.”

Similarly, Italian Transport Minister Matteo Salvini has denounced a proposed European Union ban on gasoline-powered cars as job-destroying “madness” that would benefit China, which controls the bulk of the world’s battery minerals and manufacturing.

In the U.K., Prime Minister Rishi Sunak extended the deadline to phase out gasoline vehicles from 2030 to 2035 as he gears up for elections that could occur next year. Even Germany, which is led by a left-leaning chancellor, watered down an EU proposal to phase out combustion-engine vehicles.

Still, some conservative governments have embraced electric vehicles for economic and job growth. Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has promised to make his state an EV manufacturing center, even as he denies the severity of human-caused climate change.

Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán, one of Europe’s most far-right leaders, is meanwhile working to make Hungary an electric battery hub, with more than 20 factories and related projects underway.

It’s Monday — thank you for tuning in to POLITICO’s Power Switch. I’m your host, Arianna Skibell. Power Switch is brought to you by the journalists behind E&E News and POLITICO Energy.

Send your tips, comments, questions to [email protected]. And folks, let’s keep it classy.

A message from Chevron:

Chevron knows methane management is critical for a lower carbon future. We’re striving to lead in methane management with innovative practices, partnerships, and new technologies. These are a few ways we’re aiming to keep methane in the pipe.

Today in POLITICO Energy’s podcast: Ben Lefebvre breaks down the Biden administration’s new offshore oil lease plan and why it’s drawing pushback from across the political spectrum.

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The U.S. Supreme Court.Pin

The Supreme Court. | Francis Chung/E&E News

The Supreme Court kicks off a term today in which the justices are likely to spend much of their time resolving tricky questions created by their last two years of transformative decisions, writes Josh Gerstein.

Some of the fights now coming before the high court expose what critics say are the legal vulnerabilities of recent conservative decisions. They argue the court’s GOP-appointed, six-justice majority glossed over key details as they pushed American jurisprudence swiftly to the right on some of the nation’s most divisive issues.

One such case involves a legal doctrine called Chevron deference that conservative activists having been trying to eliminate for years. They say it gives government agencies too much power. Pamela King, Niina H. Farah and Lesley Clark break down how revoking Chevron would transform the way federal agencies craft — and defend — environmental rules.

Power Centers

Loring Park, MinneapolisPin

Loring Park in Minneapolis. | Sharon Mollerus/Flickr

Decline of urban shade trees
Thousands of miles of tree-lined streets in Midwestern cities are losing an ongoing war against an invasive Asian beetle that’s the size of a grain of rice and as deadly as a saw blade, writes Daniel Cusick.

The cities’ tree canopies are crucial in combatting one of climate change’s deadliest impacts: urban heat-island effect. Efforts to save the trees should get a big boost from a new Biden administration grant for urban tree planting, but the decline is happening at a faster pace than most local governments can keep up.

Shutdown averted. What now?
Congress bought itself 48 days this weekend to make enough progress on fiscal 2024 spending bills to avoid a government shutdown before Thanksgiving, write Timothy Cama and Manuel Quiñones.

But with divisions remaining between the House and Senate, as well as among Republicans on spending levels and policy riders, Washington could be back in crisis mode in just a matter of weeks.

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Sen. Bob Menendez leaves the Capitol on Thursday. Pin

The federal indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) is raising concern among some New Jersey Democrats that they could lose power in the state Legislature. | J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

The federal corruption charges against New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez could play a role in upcoming state legislative races and jeopardize Democratic efforts to boost offshore wind.

The Energy Department has unveiled a new regulation cracking down on pollution tied to residential gas furnaces — the first overhaul of the rule in more than 15 years.

Six of the nation’s Democratic governors are urging President Joe Biden to offer more subsidies to imperiled offshore wind projects across the Northeast.

That’s it for today, folks! Thanks for reading.

A message from Chevron:

By 2028, our upstream methane intensity target is set to be 53% below the 2016 baseline. To help us get there, we’ve trialed over 13 advanced methane technologies including satellites, planes, drones, and fixed sensors to help reduce methane emissions intensity. In the Permian, we have deployed real-time autonomous optimizers that continuously monitor facilities and well conditions to help prevent flaring, venting and well shutdowns. Developing new solutions to provide energy that’s affordable, reliable and ever-cleaner, that’s energy in progress.

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