President Joe Biden’s top climate adviser suggested that he wants the administration to more expediently pursue ways to decrease reliance on driving in a conversation about Biden’s electric vehicle (EV) policies on Wednesday.
White House Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi suggested that finding ways to get Americans to live closer to where they work, and therefore rely on vehicle travel less altogether, is something that the Biden administration “absolutely” needs to address with greater haste. He made the comments in response to a question about whether the government needs to speed up its green energy projects and permitting at a Wednesday event, hosted by The Washington Post at its headquarters, focusing on choices consumers and businesses can make to reduce emissions.
“Are you worried about meeting the emissions targets and the amount of investment, or, let’s say dependence, on (electric vehicle sales) growth in the plan to reduce emissions?” Washington Post columnist Bina Venkataraman asked Zaidi. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: California Probes Driving Habits Of Vintage Car Owners After Mulling ‘Zero Emissions Zones’)
— Ali Zaidi (@alizaidi46) August 16, 2023
“On the question of whether we need to go faster, I think the answer is absolutely yes,” Zaidi said in response. “Whether it’s on electric vehicles, whether it’s on electrification, cleaning up rail and marine, whether it’s the future of sustainable aviation— biofuels, hydrogen, electric— every single mode, every single segment of transportation. And by the way, that includes increasing choices for transit, micro-transit and being able to live closer to where you need to work and go.”
Jigar Shah, another key climate official in the Biden administration who serves as the director of the Energy Department’s Loan Program Office, similarly stated in September that transitioning to EVs alone is “unsustainable,” and subsequently suggested that major changes to urban planning and a push for “micro transit” or “new ownership models” would be needed to sufficiently alter Americans’ driving habits in a way that most closely aligns with environmental goals.
Additionally, numerous environmentalist institutions have advocated for ways to diminish commuting by car travel, which they generally assert causes undue harm to the environment as vehicles release pollutants while traveling to and from the workplace and sitting in rush hour traffic. Approximately 75% of Americans drive themselves to work, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Zaidi was an architect of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Biden’s signature climate bill. Before working for the Biden administration, Zaidi served in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2017, working in the White House Domestic Policy Council, the Energy Department and in the Office of Management of Budget, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
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