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Area leaders, national security experts pledge support for clean car standards

Community leaders pledge support for lowering carbon emissions
Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 12:27 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Mayor Bill Saffo, area leaders, clean air advocates and national security experts met virtually Friday to address standards for clean transportation and call on North Carolina’s leaders to support a move toward zero pollution vehicles.

“North Carolinians have a long history of both environmental stewardship and pragmatic problem solving,” said Mayor Saffo. “Getting aggressive on electrification through both standards and incentives at every level is key to guaranteeing that Wilmington and the rest of this state can look forward to clean air and sustainable energy in the years to come.”

Transportation is one of the biggest causative factors of air pollution through carbon emissions and experts say this drives the climate crisis and creates geopolitical instability. Improving car standards will cut carbon pollution and help eliminate the reliance on oil.

“At this point, it’s no secret that carbon emissions are a major threat to the stability of our climate and a major contributor to increasingly severe extreme weather events like hurricanes,” said Krista Early of Environment North Carolina. “The transportation sector is our greatest source of pollution, which means that going big on electric vehicles and enacting strong clean cars standards has enormous potential to help us achieve a sustainable energy future. That’s why we need North Carolina’s congressional leaders to voice their support for these measures.”

Speakers urged elected leaders to tackle the climate crisis and set the United States on a path to a 50-52% reduction in carbon pollution by 2030. This is the same goal scientists say is necessary to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

More than one in three Americans experienced an extreme weather event fueled by climate change in summer 2021, and the climate crisis is making extreme weather events like floods and hurricanes in North Carolina more dangerous.

“The military and countless national security experts have repeatedly found that worsening climate change poses a very serious threat to our collective security,” said Patrick C. Costello, Chief Executive Officer of American Security Project. “Beyond the direct effects of climate change, such as the increasing frequency and ferocity of severe weather events, severe heat and famine, climate change is a threat multiplier, fueling political instability on a global scale and exacerbating foreign conflicts. Climate change poses threats to our own bases, and national guardsmen are spending an increasing number of days each year helping civilian authorities overwhelmed with extreme weather events.”

It was noted that supporting the clean transportation sector will not only help fight vehicle pollution and the climate change it fuels, but will bring jobs and economic growth to North Carolina. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, clean energy jobs were growing faster than the economy as a whole.

Event speakers included Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo, New Hanover County Commissioner Rob Zapple, North Carolina NAACP President Deborah Dicks, Maxwell, Patrick C. Costello the Chief Executive Officer of American Security Project, Xander Meise, Associate Teaching Professor at Northeastern University School of Law and Visiting Senior Fellow in Climate & Energy Security for the Truman Center for National Policy, and Krista Early with Environment North Carolina.

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