A California-like Clean Truck Program could be adopted by neighboring Nevada as a result of a sweeping new Nevada Climate Initiative.
The governor’s State of Nevada Climate Initiative released its State Climate Strategy, an integrated, economy-wide roadmap for the Silver State to accelerate climate action needed to achieve state climate goals and benefit from the clean energy and technology revolution, the organization said.
According to the Nevada Climate Initiative, more than 75% of climate survey respondents in Nevada indicated they are “very concerned” about climate change, with drought, wildfire, air quality, and extreme heat among the topics of greatest concern.
This strategy is designed as a framework for state policymakers to evaluate 17 climate policies and programs and how they work with the timelines and benchmarks necessary for Nevada to achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction goals established by the state legislature in 2019. In November 2019, Gov. Steve Sisolak signed an executive order directing the executive branch to work on advancing state climate goals. The strategy looks at policies based on their greenhouse gas emissions-reduction potential, climate justice, economic implications, and implementation feasibility.
Californa Trucking Regulations to Come?
The Nevada strategy emphasizes the need to transition away from fossil fuels in the transportation sector, the leading source of the state’s emissions.
In order to meet these goals, the strategy includes five specific policies directly aimed at the transportation sector in the state”
- Adopting low- and zero-emissions vehicle standards
- A clean truck program
- Low-carbon fuel standards
- A “cash for clunkers” program
- Ending a loophole that allows car owners to evade emission checks.
Looking specifically at trucking, the Initiative suggests adopting California’s Clean Truck Program introduced in June. Under the auspices of this plan, OEMs will have to to increase the percentage of their sales to clean vehicles through 2035, and fleet owners with 50 or more trucks are required to report their existing fleet operations.
Paul Enos, who heads the Nevada Trucking Association, told the Nevada Independent newspaper that what California does can have a big effect in Nevada. Enos noted that many Nevada truck fleets already have vehicles that meet California standards, so regulatory changes in Nevada could have a more minimal effect.
He also noted that while many large fleets are already moving toward reducing their emissions as large corporate end-users look to meet their sustainability goals, any new rules would fall disproportionally on smaller trucking companies. And unlike in California, he said Nevada might not have the ability to offer incentives to smaller players in the industry. He said state regulators should weigh that with any rules they create. “California can afford to get a lot of things wrong that we can’t afford to do in Nevada,” Enos told the paper. “I worry about the small guys. I worry about the owner-operators.”
New Era for Climate Action
Gov. Sisolak, in a press release, called it “a new era for climate action in Nevada… For the first time in Nevada’s history, we are doubling down to address climate change head-on. The Nevada State Climate Strategy serves as the critical framework necessary to elevate climate action and foster a healthy, vibrant, climate-resilient future for all Nevadans.”
The strategy was developed using the best available science, combined with input from thousands of Nevadans through a series of listening sessions on a range of climate topics, as well as a statewide climate survey, discussions with local government leaders, and more. The strategy will be adapted and updated as the impacts of climate change evolve and new climate-friendly technologies become available.
Not everyone is convinced the Nevada initiative goes far enough, however. The Environmental Defense Fund, a national environmental advocacy group, issued a statement applauding Nevada’s Climate Initiative as an important first step in the battle against climate change, but said more needed to be done.
“Importantly, the report presents a strong pathway forward for policy action, recognizing the need for an enforceable cap on pollution — which can be achieved with a flexible, market-based approach that incentivizes businesses to curb pollution,” said Katelyn Roedner Sutter, manager for U.S. Climate at EDF. “This approach is a critical piece in a suite of policies necessary for meeting the state’s climate goals, and it should be designed to lift up the communities most burdened by climate impacts and air pollution. Now, the state will need to double-down on developing a market-based approach and complementary policies that can actually curb pollution at the pace and scale required.”