Sunday, 7 August 2016

Glamourising Carmageddon In a 1ºC Warmer World

A recent Guardian article nails it. We've already hit >1ºC of warming, so it's virtually impossible to stay under 1.5ºC despite the fact that the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015 stated it as a goal.

There's an interesting incidental quote in the article:

“And by 2030 you will have to get rid of the combustion engine entirely”

Indeed, that's where it must lead and the realisation that infernal combustion engines are going to have to be phased out rather more quickly is going to dawn on us pretty soon. For example, if we want to have 0 fossil fuel cars on the road by 2050, then we have to stop making them by 2025. Norway, India and the Netherlands are already considering this.

So what this article is saying - if it doesn't mean merely ending production - is that we should already have stopped building fossil fuel cars in 2005, which means they'll be forcibly taken off the road. The fact that cities like Paris ban odd or even numbered vehicles on high pollution days is an indication of how this might take place, but whatever, they have to go and go quickly.

Yet, and this is a big yet - we are still glorifying cars in every advertising space possible: on TV in virtually every commercial break; on billboards, in papers, on facebook, on the Guardian, even over Guardian articles warning about climate change. There they are, the car companies, rubbing our faces in the pollution they're causing - because they get to advertise all the time and the counter-narrative gets almost no air-time.

And this needs to stop as well, because it's no different to tobacco adverts during the 1970s, actually it's worse because these products are a threat to the whole planet, not primarily the individuals who smoke. Deglamourise those tail-pipes and the incessant urban noise that the fossil fuel industry has immersed us in. End those adverts, it'll make it easier to end fossil fuel car production.