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California moves toward phasing out gas-fueled vehicles

 August 26, 2022 at 12:30 PM PDT

S1: How to get to zero gas powered new cars in California.

S2: Starting in 2035 , 100% of new cars sold have to run on electricity or hydrogen.

S1: I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS Midday Edition.


S1: Broadway's The Lion King , Tchaikovsky and more. On the weekend preview. That's ahead on Midday Edition. State regulators made it official yesterday. California will stop the sale of new gas powered vehicles by the year 2035. The California Air Resources Board , or CARB , approved the initiative by Governor Newsom and presented a plan that breaks down the goal into yearly targets. There are many interested parties involved in the effort from car manufacturers waiting to see what the huge California market will do to environmentalists , hoping for the greatest reductions in carbon emissions in the shortest amount of time. And the ambitious climate action goal presents some potential obstacles from battery power to the electric grid. Joining me is Associated Press reporter Kathleen Ronayne. And , Kathleen , welcome.

S2: Thank you for having me.


S2: So after 2035 , you could still drive around your existing gas powered car that you own. You could buy a used gas powered car. So we're talking about the sales of new cars and that's passenger vehicles. So sedans , SUVs , pickup trucks , kind of classic passenger cars. So what this does is it's starting in 20 , 35 , 100% of new cars sold have to run on electricity or hydrogen. Now , 20% of those sales could be plug in hybrids , which can run on battery , but also gas as a backup. So it's not going to entirely eliminate new sales of anything that runs on gas at all. There's that little window for hybrids. And then this could also include hydrogen powered cars. But right now , that's such a fraction of the market , like less than half of a percentage of what is sold. And so most people are short handing this to say it's , you know , 100% electric vehicles.

S1: How are the targets from the Air Resources Board going to begin tailoring California's new car market ? Sure.

S2: So today , about 16% of cars sold in the state are electric vehicles. So already a fairly decent share of the market. And these regulations really start in 2026. So by that year , about a third of all new cars in the state are supposed to be electric and then that ramps up over time. So by 2030 at 68% , by 2035 , it's 100%. And there's , you know , yearly targets along the way.

S1: Now , new electric and plug in hybrid vehicles are still much more expensive than gas powered cars.

S2: It's definitely true that today most electric vehicles are really targeted at , you know , higher income buyers with prices of , you know , $40,000 or more. But there are a lot of new electric vehicles and plug in hybrids expected to be coming on the market. The state predicts that there's going to be almost 180 different types of these cars just by 2025. And there are also a lot of incentives that the state and the federal government are offering. So there's a tax credit of up to 70 $500 that you can get that will sort of help people bring down these costs. And a lot of these car companies , too , they want to sell cars that are affordable because they have to sell all electric cars. Right. And so General Motors , for example , has said that it's going to offer a small Chevy SUV with a starting price tag of around $30,000. That would be expected to get close to 300 miles per charge. So , you know , I think we don't know exactly what that cost picture is going to look like. But these car companies are trying to provide a wide range of options and there's a lot of incentives in place to help reduce that cost for consumers.

S1: Now , even some carb regulators themselves admit the first few years of this plan will be the toughest.

S2: And so we've got to double that in three years. And changing habits and behaviors is hard. Most of us are used to driving gas powered cars. That's historically what people have driven. And while there's a lot of interest in electric vehicles , there's also some skepticism. Is this going to get me where I need to go ? Is it going to cost me too much money ? Am I going to be able to charge the car ? And so there's this sort of behavioral habit mindset , things that are going to be challenging , and we also need to rapidly ramp up this infrastructure. So right now , California has about 80,000 public charging stations. So these are charging stations that aren't at someone's home. You know , they might be in a parking lot or on the street or in a , you know , a public place. And the state predicts that by 2025 , we need 250,000 of those. So that's almost a quadrupling of the number of chargers that we need or a tripling of the number of chargers that we need. So we've got to ramp up a lot of different things to make this happen and get people to want to buy these cars and believe that they can do what people need cars to do.

S1: Now , the effort to end gas powered car sales in California is a really big deal. Not just for this state , but actually nationally. Tell us about the stakes involved for the nation's automobile industry.

S2: So 10% of vehicle sales right now happen in California. And as we know , because California's economy is so massive. When things happen here , they tend to have ripple effects. And so , you know , by nature , this regulation is going to spur car companies to make a lot more electric vehicles available because they want to be able to sell in California. And so that may end up having , you know , ripple effects in terms of the types of cars that are available. Beyond that , California for decades has been allowed to set its own tailpipe emissions standards. And a lot of other states , 17 right now already follow our emissions rules on gas powered cars. And a number of states have said that they're prepared to adopt these regulations. And so what's going to happen is it's not just going to be California that's setting that 100% goal for 2035. It's going to be potentially Massachusetts , Washington State , New York , all of these other places mandating this phase out of the sale of gas powered cars.


S2: First , I think definitely people are going to start seeing a lot more electric vehicles. You know , come on the market. I know someone from IKEA testified before the air board yesterday that by , you know , 2027 , they're expecting to have seven different models of electric vehicles that they can sell. So I think it's kind of going to be a combination of seeing more vehicles for sale when you go to the car dealer , but also seeing charging infrastructure , you know , show up , whether it is , you know , in your apartment complex or at the mall parking lot or even on the street corner.

S1: I've been speaking with the Associated Press reporter Kathleen Ronayne. Kathleen , thank you.

S2: Thanks for having me.

S1: California's county governments would be responsible for carrying out the state's controversial care court proposal. The program would compel mental health and addiction treatment for thousands of people in the state. Counties say they already have a crisis level shortage of mental health workers. San Diego County is no exception. A recent report found that some 18,500 more mental health and addiction treatment professionals are needed here by 2027. Cap Radio's Chris Nichols reports on counties concerns on the shortage and their worries on sustainable funding for the program.

S4: Under care court , judges could order treatment for people with severe mental illness or substance abuse problems. Governor Gavin Newsom sees it as a way to get people off the streets and into the care they need. But with the growing demand for mental health services during the pandemic and a shortage of existing workers , county leaders say care court could be a major burden on an already overtaxed system.

S3: We see it everywhere. We hear everybody talking about it. We already have a workforce crisis where we don't have enough clinicians to be delivering the mental health substance use disorder services that are needed out in our community.

S4: That's Ryan Quist. He directs Sacramento County's Department of Behavioral Services. Newsom's proposal would rely on county social workers , nurses and counselors to evaluate potential candidates , spend time with them in court and eventually provide the required care. But Quist says he already has a deficit of more than 100 clinical workers and that many of his existing staff would be tied up in court care.

S3: Court would add on new administrative burdens that would take our scarce clinical resources away from actually serving the folks that need those services.

S4: With County struggling to bolster this workforce , Jason Elliott , a senior advisor to the governor , says the Newsom administration has a solution.

S3: The answer to it is a $1.7 billion workforce initiative to develop more than 20,000 new clinical social workers and other professionals in adjacent space. Because we can do everything else right. And if we don't have people to do the jobs , then none of it matters.

S4: Care court won't start right away in all counties , and that money should help with future hiring. But it takes a long time for that money to produce new and trained workers , says Jacqueline Wong Hernandez with the California State Association of Counties.

S1: I hope that those investments will yield a lot of success , but it's not happening this second , and we're layering another program.

S3: On top of. It.

S4: It. Elliott says the state has already committed $65 million per year to pay for court staffing , including the public defenders that would represent people selected for the program. He says the state will also pay counties for care courts additional administrative workload , though that amount is still being negotiated. Beyond concerns over funding and staffing. Counties also want to know where and how to house the estimated 12,000 Californians who could take part in CARE court. Under the plan , a judge could order counties to provide housing for participants. Ryan Quest , the Sacramento County's behavioral health director , says there's already a severe lack of available housing across the state.

S3: We can get individuals into services , help them get better , but then once they're are better , where are they going to live ? And so really , we need to focus on making sure that we have sufficient housing for this population.

S4: The governor's office points to nearly $15 billion approved in recent years for homeless housing. That's led to the opening of several thousand new units for unhoused residents , mainly in the form of converted motel rooms. State lawmakers have to act on the care court proposal before their legislative session ends on August 31st. In Sacramento , I'm Chris Nichols.

S1: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH. This weekend preview , we have visual art inspired by a mix of chemistry and long walks in the park , a Broadway show , the symphony and more. Joining me with all the details is KPBS arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans. And , Julia , welcome.

S5: Hi , Maureen. Thanks for having me.

S1: Now , let's start with a feature you recently wrote on visual artist Carmen Ah Goatee , whose exhibition is currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego downtown. Tell us about her work.

S5: Yeah , this exhibition , it's called Filtration System for a Process Based Practice , which is such a great and fitting title for the show , where these pieces , all of them are recent. They were really inspired from the process of walking. So either around her neighborhood in Los Angeles or at a nearby city park with a manmade lake , the Lincoln Park in L.A.. And in the exhibition , they're piping these audio recordings that she had made on her phone as she was walking and making observations or developing ideas about an art piece. So you'll hear her say , Hey , Siri , throughout the show. And I also really love her use of materials and chemistry , starting with these found objects , even like water or duck droppings. There's pizza boxes , her own urine , and it's all are things that are linked to what's around her and what she's seeing.

S2: The repetitive.

S1: Action of sort of searching and looking.

S2: Walking and processing with.

S3: And through the action of. Using.

S2: Using.

S3: And touching and.

S1: Being in relationship with the material to to transform something that's very familiar into something.

S3: To basically see something.

S5: That's hard to see. That's artist Carmen Ah Goatee. And she combines these materials with things they'll react with , like iron powder , oak , gall , lemon pea , mineral oxide , cochineal , and the transformations with with the colors and blossoms of patterns. It's all really striking. And at the exhibition , there's a mixture of sculptures and works on paper and those audio recordings , and it'll all be on view through October 23rd. Downtown.

S1: A little further north , the Institute of Contemporary Art , San Diego , is featuring a few new artists in the coming weeks. They kick things off their end cities this location this weekend with Carolina cachet those aesthetics of commodity exhibition.

S5: Catalina Casita is a really exciting artist. She's based in Los Angeles and she was born in London to Colombian parents and has shown her work all over the world. But this exhibition , it's at IKEA's North Campus , formerly Lux Art Institute. It features her collection of digital collages that she has made from historical stocks and bonds , some of them featuring text overlays with statements about debt , oppression , capitalism and slavery. And these documents are from three specific places Puerto Rico , Virginia and Pennsylvania. And in these works , she's exploring the ways the financial term bonds has origins in the capitalization of slavery. And this exhibition , it opens on Saturday and is on view through October 30th. And there will be a reception for the entire new season. That's in a few weeks on September 9th , when the new artist in residence will also move into the space.

S1: The Broadway production of The Lion King just came to San Diego.

S5: But if you've only seen the animated movie , it's a it's great to see these characters literally brought to life in three dimensions. And the sets and the costumes are pretty extravagant. And the choreography , too. And there's that iconic soundtrack with Tim Rice and Elton John. And this weekend shows are 730 tonight , 2 p.m. and 730 on Saturday and 1 p.m. and 630 Sunday. But like I said , it's here until the 11th.

S1: Earlier in the summer , the San Diego Symphony announced that they were pulling Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture from tonight's concert. Their annual end of summer performance of the piece. They've replaced it , though , with some other Tchaikovsky works. Tell us about that decision and about the concert.

S5: So the reason they pulled the 1812 Overture and kind of rebranded this as Tchaikovsky's Symphonic Tales event is that the 1812 Overture was specifically commissioned by the Russian government to celebrate a Russian military victory. So it wasn't a choice made about censoring Russian artists , but mainly just that it's not really the time to be celebrating Russian war victories. And they've replaced it with the composer's The Tempest. And that's based on Shakespeare. It's a moody and pensive tone poem. It's really lovely. And they're also performing a few more Tchaikovsky selections and a Rimsky-Korsakov piece. And throughout the concert , they'll have live narrators reading the parts of classic literature that has actually inspired these pieces. Those are San Diego actors , and it's tonight at 730 at the show.

S1: One more thing before we go. There's a new park social art activation taking place on Saturday at Kate Sessions Park. Tell us about it.

S5: So this is the work of artist David White , and it's sort of an interactive virtual reality installation built to look like those touristy overlook binoculars that you put a quarter in. And this is at Kate Sessions Park , which is near Mount Soledad. And when you look through the viewfinder , you won't see any panoramic views. And instead , you'll see a series of videos that that change as you look around. And they all feature essential workers in San Diego. They're doing their everyday tasks that keep things running. And they you also see them experiencing a range of emotions as they work. And that's just this Saturday from 11 to 6 p.m.. And you can just walk up to the project and take a look.

S1: For details on these and more arts events , sort to sign up for Julia's weekly KPBS Arts Newsletter. Go to KPBS. Jorge's Arts. I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. And thank you , Julia.

S5: Thanks , Maureen. Have a good weekend.

State regulators made it official yesterday. California will stop the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by the year 2035. Then, California’s county governments would be responsible for carrying out the state’s controversial CARE Court proposal. But counties have concerns about a shortage of mental health workers and funding for the program. And in our weekend preview, visual art inspired by a mix of chemistry and long walks in the park, a Broadway show, the symphony and more.