California struck a secret deal with automakers to thwart Trump’s attempt to reduce fuel-efficiency standards
via Corey Thompson / Flickr

One of the United States' greatest weapons against tyranny are states rights.

While they've typically been championed by conservatives who don't want to abide by federal dictates, the left-leaning state of California has been using its rights to push back against Trump's harmful environmental policies.

While the Trump Administration has been rolling back federal climate regulations, the state of California has created its own aiming to get 100% of the state's electricity from renewable sources by mid-century.

"What we're seeing is a tale of two climate nations," said Barry Rabe, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan, told the New York Times. "The split has become much more pronounced in recent years."


The most populated state in the nation struck another blow to Trump's environmental policies by signing a deal with four major auto companies to reduce their emissions.

During the Obama Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency set new car emissions standards where auto manufacturers would have to raise their fleet average to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

The Trump Administration has announced that it intends to roll back the Obama-era standard to about 37 miles per gallon. It has justified the decision by saying that the dirtier cars will be safer.

Calironia Governor Gavin Newsomvia JD Lasica / Flickr

Related: Coca-Cola has stopped supporting a pro-plastic lobbying firm after pressure from Greenpeace.

"The Trump administration is hell bent on rolling [emissions standards] back. They are in complete denial about climate change," California Governor Gavin Newsom told reporters. "I don't know if they're sincere about that, but for whatever reason, politically, they think it's advantageous."

"The standards the Trump administration is trying to roll back are the biggest single step that any nation has taken to tackle global warming," Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign at the Center for Auto Safety, told NPR.

"They would save six billion tons of carbon dioxide, if not weakened. So this is an enormous threat to the planet if the president's rollback goes forward," he added.

The state of California, with its nearly 40 million residents, million holds considerable sway with auto manufacturers. So it secretly negotiated with Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, and BMW to reach a fleet average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, undermining Trump's planned rollbacks.

The four manufacturers represent about 30% of the total U.S. car market.

The Trump Administration is expected to challenge the state's ability to set its own fuel standards. But Califonia has vowed to fight the challenge all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.