California is taking aim at Uber and Lyft’s outsized climate consequences

By By Carlyn Kranking : calmatters – excerpt

Uber and Lyft are bigger greenhouse gas polluters than they should be, two recent reports say. California’s climate enforcers aim to fix that.

To understand California’s climate change challenge, look no further than its popular ride-hailing companies.

Uber, Lyft and other companies make up a tiny piece of the biggest greenhouse gas polluter in the state: transportation. Yet their contribution to climate-warming emissions is outsized, drawing attention from researchers and lawmakers and raising an ambitious question: how can the state rein in emissions from gig economy companies built on drivers who own their vehicles?

The latest strike against Uber and Lyft comes from the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group that published a report last week showing ride-hailing trips release 69% more climate-warming emissions than the walking, biking, transit and other car trips they displace. The findings support California’s own analysis, which concluded ride-hailing increases carbon dioxide pollution by 50% for every mile a passenger travels, compared to when they drive themselves.

The state took action in 2018, passing a first-of-its-kind law to curb that carbon pollution. It tasked the California Air Resources Board with setting targets to increase electric vehicle miles within ride-hailing companies and to cut carbon dioxide for every mile a ride-hailing passenger travels. The California Public Utilities Commission must then enforce those rules when they take effect, which is slated for 2023.

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Better late than never I guess. Perhaps they can take on the huge shuttle buses that line up daily on our city streets. What is their impact on GHG? We never got to find out because they were pushed through without proper CEQA analysis the way many entitlements are these days. If the impact is “inevitable” and it is “Infeasible” to mitigate the impact, it must be allowed. We have heard that over and over again from the Planning and Department and the SFMTA. Look where it has gotten us. The public has no voice unless the courts decide in our favor or we elect new officials to change the priorities and procedures that fail to regulate the industries.