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Do electric vehicles have an impact on climate change?

Do electric vehicles have an impact on climate change?

Several years ago the idea of city streets filled entirely with electric vehicles might have seemed far-fetched. Today, mass proliferation of these automobiles has shifted from fantasy to reality. A growing number of them are crossing intersections, and several governments, like the U.K. and France, have already pledged to phase out traditional combustion engines.

Last month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom went a step further. He signed an executive order that said all new cars and trucks sold in the state must be zero-emission by 2035. In the weeks leading up to the announcement, dozens of unprecedented wildfires tore through California, pushing the state to the frontlines of the battle against a warming climate. Newsom said he was “advancing a strategy to address [the climate crisis] head on.”

While 15 years may seem like plenty of time, there are still many obstacles and outstanding questions before the future of transportation goes fully green.

One of those outstanding questions is: Does an electric vehicle mandate actually help address a warming climate? David Kelly, professor of economics at the University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School, said that official order is probably not the most efficient solution for addressing climate change.

Kelly, who is academic director of the Master of Science in Sustainable Business Program, researches environmental economics and policy—and he drives a Tesla.