MENLO PARK, Calif.— Statement of Environment Program Director Jonathan Pershing, former Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. Department of State, on behalf of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in response to the proposed rollback of federal clean car standards:

“Yesterday the EPA announced its intention to roll back fuel efficiency standards and undermine the ability of states like California to set their own, more stringent targets. This decision, based on a mistaken argument that automakers cannot meet agreements made less than two years ago, overlooks and endangers the development of important technologies that are enhancing our ability to build cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars. Moreover, the decision to prevent states from enacting stricter standards undermines our country’s urgent need to find new ways to fight climate change and improve our economy.

“Let’s be clear: climate change is a real and direct threat. In the face of burning forests, flooding cities, and searing droughts that have hurt farmers and ranchers, rural and urban communities alike, we need to be aggressive in confronting the threat. Indeed, the regulations being rolled back were insufficient to the task; eliminating them sets us on a course to even more severe damages.

“In fact, the EPA’s decision to walk back these rules will not only have harmful effects on the climate, it will rob millions of Americans of significant savings. It is estimated that without these rules, we will need to buy more than half a billion additional gallons of gasoline a day, resulting in a huge hit to our wallets. And while other countries continue to advance technologies for the cars of the future, American automakers and American auto workers will lose out on growing markets and new jobs.

“While this decision represents an unnecessary setback in our effort to build a clean and climate-friendly environment, we at the Hewlett Foundation remain committed and hopeful. We will continue to seek out and support diverse organizations that are moving the nation to a more prosperous economy, a cleaner climate, and a safer, more sustainable future for our children.”