by Brian Balfour
Senior Vice President of Research, John Locke Foundation
In a little-discussed executive order issued Jan. 7, Gov. Cooper imposed unrealistic electric vehicle sales quotas on the state’s auto industry, among other draconian diktats.
Under the guise of creating a “clean, equitable economy,” Cooper’s order declares that the state “will strive” to increase the total number of ZEV’s (zero-emission vehicles) to at least 1.25 million by 2030, and increase the sale of ZEVs so that 50% of in-state sales of new vehicles are zero-emission by 2030.
In short, Cooper’s order would require a 4,000% increase in the number of ZEVs – in just 8 years.
Where one man gets the power to impose quotas on a large private industry goes unexplained. Government officials dictating what private industries must produce and sell reaks of economic fascism and central planning.
The legal ramifications of Cooper’s order are in question, it is unclear if his order is legally binding in any way. However, the Cooper administration may use this order as a starting point to prompt the Department of Environmental Quality to impose “rules” to give teeth to Cooper’s order.
But even more sweeping is the provision outlining a goal to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions to at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, and net zero emissions no later than 2050.
Fortunately, thanks largely to nuclear and natural gas energy, emissions in North Carolina have been falling significantly this century, and a 50% reduction by 2030 may occur regardless of Cooper’s orders.
Nevertheless, net zero emissions would be very difficult to achieve, and wildly expensive, hitting low-income households especially hard.
Attempts to control statewide emissions will affect virtually all industries across the state.
Other provisions in Cooper’s order include, but are not limited to: