Wednesday, September 23, 2020

CA Seeks to Sell Only Electric Cars by 2035

A New Executive Order from California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) seeks to Phase Out the use of Gas-Powered Cars by Only allowing the Sale of Zero-Emissions Passenger Cars and Trucks by 2035. The Executive Order also aims to Require Medium-Duty and Heavy-Duty Vehicles in the State to be Zero-Emissions by 2045.

The Executive Order comes as the State Deals with another Terrible Season of Wildfires that has taken Dozens of Lives, Destroyed Property, and left California with Sickening Air Quality. Climate Change is seen as a Huge Factor in the Fires. "When we are looking to achieve our audacious goals to get to a 100 percent carbon-free economy by 2045, we can't get there unless we accelerate our efforts in the transportation sector," Newsom said.

"In the next 15 years we will eliminate in the state of California the sales of internal combustion engines. We will move forward to green and decarbonize our vehicle fleet ... substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as oxide nitrogen, in so doing, we'll improve air quality and improve the economic climate here in the state of California," he added.

The Governor argued that this would Help the State's Economy, citing the Fact that Electric Vehicles are some of the State's Largest Exports and arguing that Expanding this Industry would Create Jobs.

He Praised some Automakers but said that Others were Not On-Board with California's Plans. "I want to thank in particular a number of manufacturers, automobile, that get it and are starting to get it done," he said, specifically praising Ford, Volvo, BMW and Honda. He added that others are "pushing back against California's leadership" but did Not Name Specific Companies.

Newsom's Executive Order also includes a Provision to No Longer issue New Permits for Oil and Gas Fracking by 2024. "We will be directing and working...on a legislative strategy to begin the phaseout formally of fracking," he said, saying that this would occur in the New Legislative Session beginning in January 2021.

The Announcement comes after the Trump Administration, earlier this year, Revoked California's Authority to Set its Own Tailpipe Emissions Standards for Vehicles, prompting Ongoing Court Challenges.

California has consistently been at the Forefront of Efforts to Limit Emissions from Vehicles. The State recently Finalized Deals with several Automakers under which they would Produce Vehicle Fleets averaging 51 Miles-per-Gallon (MPG) by 2026 even though the Trump Administration is Only Requiring them to Produce Fleets averaging 40 MPG by 2026.

The State has had Several Legal Clashes with the Administration over Environmental Regulations pertaining to Vehicles including Suing over the Trump Fuel Economy Standards and being Sued over its Program allowing it to Cap Carbon Emissions from the Transportation Sector.

Nationally, the Transportation Sector was the Largest Source of Greenhouse Gas Emissions as of 2018.

Environmentalists cheered the News while Industry Groups Opposed it. "In the midst of a historic wildfire crisis, Governor Newsom is taking strong action to protect California's economy and the health of its people. His announcement today will not only address the single largest source of climate and air pollution in California, but is a major step toward boosting his state's economic competitiveness and helping Californians who are suffering extraordinary harms from air pollution." said a Statement from Environmental Defense Fund President, Fred Krupp.

The Fuel Industry, however, said the Move Exceeds Newsom's Authority and would Harm Consumers. "Governor Newsom lacks the authority to ban the internal combustion engine. Regardless, pursuing this goal would be among the most inefficient, unpopular, and regressive methods to reduce carbon emissions. Forced electrification would deprive consumers of choice for popular vehicles fueled by affordable, reliable, and readily available gasoline and diesel," said a Statement from American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers President, Chet Thompson.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Facebook to Reject Election Ads that Prematurely Declare Winner

The New Policy Marks a Departure for the Social Media Behemoth. Facebook has faced Mounting Criticism for how it handles Misinformation Spreading on its Network.

Facebook has vowed to Reject Political Ads that Claim Victory for a Candidate in the 2020 Election before the Results are Certified, a Scenario that Election Watchers Fear is likely as an Increased Number of People Vote-by-Mail due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. "Facebook will be rejecting political ads that claim victory before the results of the 2020 election have been declared," Company Spokesperson, Andy Stone Tweeted, Wednesday Sept. 23rd.

The New Policy Marks a Departure for Facebook, which has Repeatedly Declined to Fact Check Political Ads in the past, much to the Chagrin of Democrats and Progressive Groups who Accuse the Network of allowing Misleading Messages to Spread as long as it gets Paid for them.

Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, made Headlines, earlier this month, when he Banned New Political Ads from being Distributed on the Platform during the week before Election Day. The Rationale, he asserted, was that All political Ads should be Published in Advance so that Candidates have time to respond to Accusations. The Ads could Resume immediately after Election Day, Facebook said.

But there's No Guarantee a Winner will be certain on Election Night. As Zuckerberg acknowledged, "It's important that we prepare for this possibility in advance and understand that there could be a period of intense claims and counter-claims as the final results are counted."

Facebook previously Committed to Policing Facebook Posts that Prematurely Declare a Victory, hitting them with a Label that says: The Election is Not Yet Decided. Wednesday's Decision to Ban Paid Political Ads that do the Same Expands on that Policy. Facebook will Rely on Reuters and the National Election Pool to Determine Results.

Republicans and Democrats alike were quick to Bemoan Facebook's Ban on Political Ads in the Week before the Election. Each side said it put them at a Disadvantage, particularly as they try to Drive Remaining Voters to the Polls.

But Facebook has faced Mounting Criticism for how it handles Misinformation spreading on its Network. Though Misleading Posts circulating on Pages and Groups present a Greater Harm, Critics have said, the Social Network's unwillingness to Fact-Check Political Ads has been a Point of Contention.

Zuckerberg said Three Weeks ago that Facebook Planned No Further Changes to how it Handles Election Content before a Winner is Named, though a Company Executive later said that Unexpected or Extreme Circumstances could Force the Company to make Adjustments. More Changes could be on the Horizon.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Eric Trump Ordered to Sit for Deposition Before Election

Trump’s Son, Eric, can’t Delay until after, the November Election, a Deposition sought by New York Authorities in a Civil Fraud Probe of the Family Business, a Judge Ruled. Eric Trump must Testify under Oath by Oct. 7th, despite his Busy Calendar during Trump's Campaign, New York State Court Justice, Arthur Engoron, ruled Wednesday Sept. 23rd, in Manhattan, handing a Significant Procedural Victory to New York Attorney General, Letitia James. James is not “bound by timelines of the national election,” the Judge said.

The Attorney General has been seeking Sworn Testimony from Eric Trump for Months as part of a Probe into how certain Assets were Valued by the Trump Organization, where he’s Executive Vice President. While Eric, last week agreed to be Deposed, he said he couldn’t do so until After the Election, proposing Thanksgiving Day as One Option.

The Investigation is examining whether Trump’s Manhattan-based Company Falsely Reported the Greater Value of Assets to Secure Busnese Loans and Reported Less Value of Assets to get New York Tax Benefits as Claimed by Trump’s Former Personal Lawyer and Fixer, Michael Cohen, who has fallen out with his Ex-Boss.

Engoron, on Wednesday, also Rejected the Trump Organization’s Argument that many of the Documents sought by the Attorney General are Protected by Privilege because various Attorneys were Involved in the Transactions and Tax Decisions at the center of the Probe. The Judge Ordered many of those Documents to be Handed-Over in early October.

The Trump Organization’s Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg, has already been Deposed, though his Questioning in July, was allegedly Cut Short when he was asked whether he’d Testified before a Federal grand Jury.

When Eric Trump backed out of his Deposition, his Lawyers implied it was because Weisselberg’s Questioning went beyond the Scope of a Civil Probe, James has said.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

NYC Backs Emissions Standards Expansion to Some Rent-Regulated Buildings

New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio’s (D) Administration stated its Support of Expanding the City’s Strict New Emissions Standards to Rent-Regulated Buildings at a City Council Hearing, Tuesday Sept. 22nd, despite Concerns from some Council Members about the Financial Burden it would impose on Landlords.

Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, spoke in Favor of the Proposal, known as Intro 1947, before the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, framing it as a Key Component of the City’s Fight against Climate Change. He Estimated that it would bring 1,000 Additional Buildings into Compliance with the New Standards, which would Remove about 100,000 Tons of Carbon from the Air. “We support the intent of 1947 and look forward to working with the council and stakeholders to make sure that we address any potential issues that they may identify,” Chambers said. “We want to implement an expansion responsibly.”

The Proposal, Sponsored by Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-22nd District), would Expand the Requirements under last year’s Climate Mobilization Act to Properties that contain up to 35% Rent-Regulated Units that are Larger than 25,000 square feet. The Law calls on the City to Reduce its Greenhouse-Gas Emissions by 40% as of 2030 and by 80% as of 2050.

The Council initially left such Buildings Out of the Act over concerns that Landlords would Count the Environmental Upgrades they made to their Properties as Major Capital Improvements (MCI), which would allow them to Increase Rents. The Rent Reforms that the State Passed last year, however, Banned the MCI Program in Buildings with up to 35% of Rent-Regulated Units.

Opponents of Intro 1947 in the Real Estate Industry say it would Impose an Additional Cost on Landlords at a time when many are Dealing with Lower Rent Collections due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Councilmen Kalman Yeger (D-44th District) and Eric Ulrich (D-32nd) raised Concerns about the Economics of the Bill at the Hearing.

“Given the decrease in revenue that they’re having and that they’re experiencing right now, and the financial troubles that they may be going through, I’m just wondering, other than financing, why the city isn’t matching or putting up any of the money in the form of grants to help pay for the capital costs of complying with the new regulations,” Ulrich said.

Chambers stressed that the City was Committed to giving Building Owners as many Options as possible to Comply with the New Law and that the Realities of Climate Change require New York to Act now on Adopting its New Emissions Standards. “We do have 10 years to be able to not only implement the changes required by this law but the changes to reverse significant impacts to our planet related to greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

China’s Bold New Carbon Emissions Goal Net Zero by 2060

In a jaw-dropping Announcement, Chinese President Xi Jinping, said his Government plans to Boost China’s Paris Climate Accord Target and called for a Green Revolution, just minutes after Trump blasted Beijing for “rampant pollution”. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Xi reiterated China’s Goal of Achieving a Peak in Carbon Dioxide Emissions before 2030.

He then Announced that his Country would effectively Balance Out its Carbon Emissions with Measures to Offset them before 2060, the First time the World’s Biggest Emitter of Carbon Dioxide has Pledged to End its Net Contribution to Climate Change.

“China will scale up its intended nationally determined contributions [to the Paris agreement] by adopting more vigorous policies and measures,” Xi said, urging All Countries to pursue a “green recovery of the world economy in the post-COVID era.”

Xi used the Lectern to call for Multilateral Action on Climate Change after Trump called the Paris Climate Agreement, with nearly 200 Signatories, a One-Sided Deal and Criticised China for being the World’s Largest Source of Carbon Emissions.

Todd Stern, the United States’s Climate Envoy under the Administration of Former President Barack Obama, who Worked on Brokering a Bilateral Climate Agreement with China in 2014, said the Announcement was an “encouraging” Step.

“Today’s announcement by President Xi Jinping that China intends to reach carbon neutrality before 2060 is big and important news – the closer to 2050 the better,” he said, but added that the 2030 Goal “won’t be enough” to get it on Track for the Longer-Term Target.

The U.S. and China have been hit this year by Extreme Weather of the kind Predicted by Scientists to accompany Climate Change. In China, heavy rains over the Summer unleashed the most Punishing Flood Season in about 30 years, while the U.S. is Facing One of its Busiest Hurricane Seasons at the same time that Record Wildfires Ravage Western States.

Trump has referred to Climate Change as a “Hoax,” and in 2017 Pulled the U.S. Out of the Paris Accords laying out an International Approach to the Problem. Joe Biden, his Democratic Presidential Challenger and a Former Vice President, has included climate Change on his List of Significant Crises facing the U.S.

Trump, who has Rolled Back or Pared Down Hundreds of Environmental Regulations, said the U.S. had Reduced its Carbon Emissions by More than any Country in the Agreement. “Those who attack America’s exceptional environmental record while ignoring China’s rampant pollution are not interested in the environment. They only want to punish America. And I will not stand for it,” Trump said.

Li Shuo, a Climate Diplomacy Expert at Greenpeace, said Xi’s Climate Pledge, Minutes after Trump’s Speech, was “clearly a bold and well-calculated move”. “It demonstrates Xi’s consistent interest in leveraging the climate agenda for geopolitical purposes,” he said.

All Paris Signatories are Required to Update their Commitments under the Agreement before the End of the Year, and China could Release more Details on its Climate Plans at that time. The Country’s Leadership is also Set to Reveal more about its Path towards Cutting Emissions as Part of its Five-year Plan for 2021 to 2025, which will be Released Next Month, with Details to be made Public in March 2021.

Although many Analysts have Predicted that China was already On-Track to Achieve Peak Emissions by 2030, the Formal Announcement was Welcomed by the European Union, which has been Negotiating with China to set a Target for Carbon Neutrality and to Announce a Peak Date. The EU had been urging Beijing to Bring the Date forward to 2025. “I welcome the announcement by President Xi that China has set a date for its CO2 emissions to peak and will become carbon neutral before 2060,” said Frans Timmermans, Vice President for the European Green Deal, while adding that Every Country needs to Ramp-Up its Climate Targets.

European Officials were also expected to Press China to Toughen its Climate Goals. The EU wanted Chinese Emissions to Peak by 2025 instead of the Country’s Target Date of 2030. The Bloc also wanted China to Stop Building Coal-Fired Power Plants at Home and Financing them Abroad.

Whether or not China’s climate plans include putting limits on its coal power financing is another key question. The country wields enormous influence around the world through its Belt and Road initiative. Coal-fired power generation in Pakistan rose 57 percent in the fiscal year ended this past June, for instance, largely on the back of Chinese investments.

China also leads the world in the deployment of clean-energy technologies. To reach net-zero emissions in less than three decades, the country will have to double down on them. That, in turn, will make them cheaper and enable other countries to set even more ambitious climate goals.

Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, like Trump, used his UN Speech to Push Back on International Criticism of his Country’s Handling of the Environment, as the Number of Fires in the Amazon stands at a 10-year High, while Blazes in the Pantanal Wetlands are the Worst on Record.

Environmental Advocates Blame Bolsonaro for Emboldening Illegal Farmers and Land Speculators who Set Fire to Land to Increase its Value for Agricultural Use, but the President said Brazilian Agriculture Feeds One Billion People in the World and has Strong Environmental Protections. “And yet we are the victims of one of the most brutal campaigns of misinformation about the Amazon and the Pantanal,” he said, without Specifying what Information was False.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

CPD Topics for First Presidential Debate

The Commission for Presidential Debates (CPD) Announced Topics for First Presidential Debate.

The First Presidential Debate will be held, on Tuesday, September 29th, at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH.

The Format for the First Debate calls for Six 15-minute Time Segments dedicated to Topics Announced in Advance in order to encourage Deep Discussion of the Leading Issues facing the Country.

Christopher W. Wallace is an American Television Anchor and Journalist who is the News Anchor of the Fox News Program: Fox News Sunday, is the Moderator of the First 2020 Presidential Debate, has selected the Topics for that Debate.

Subject to possible Changes because of News Developments, the Topics for the September 29th Debate, not necessarily to be brought up in this Order:

The Trump and Biden Records
The Supreme Court
The Economy
Race and Violence in our Cities
The Integrity of the Election

All Debates Start at 9:00p.m. ET and Run for 90 minutes without Commercial Interruption.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

First RCV Presidential Vote Will be in Maine

First Ranked-Choice-voting (RCV) Pesidential Vote will be in Maine this November, State's Top Court Decides.

Maine Doesn’t have Early In-Person Voting, but you can Vote Absentee-in-Person at your Clerk's Office:

Maine's All Absentee In-Person Early Voting: Oct 5th - Oct 30th.


Joe Binden (Democratic)
Donald J. Trump (Republican)
Roque Rocky De La fuente (Alliance)
Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian)
Howie Hawkins (Green)

Voters in Maine will be allowed to List their Candidates in order of Preference, and its Four Electoral Votes will only be Awarded to those who get a Majority's Support. Maine Awards Two Electoral Votes based on the Statewide Vote, and One Vote for each Congressional District.

The Ruling is a huge Symbolic Victory for Advocates of RCV, who view this type of voting as a Formula for Improving Democracy by Reducing the Major Parties' Influence, Encouraging more Consensus-Building Campaigns, Promoting the Prospects of Outsiders, and Guaranteeing Winners can claim a Mandate because they have been Endorsed by Most Voters.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker