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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

SUV-Driving Urban Warriors Are Winning

Soon planet Earth will be defeated. A good article from George Monbiot in London.
But perhaps there's more to it than ennui and insecurity. George Marshall, of the climate change network Rising Tide, suggests that the people who buy these cars in the face of both a developing global climate crisis and an impending global oil crisis are engaging in "reactive denial". By showing that it's possible to consume vast quantities of fossil fuel without an immediately discernable adverse effect, 4x4 drivers prove to themselves that there cannot be a problem.

If this is the case, then the only sensible response is to demonstrate that there are immediately discernable adverse effects, by stinging these people with a vast tax bill, or simply by banning their anti-social behavior. It isn't hard to do: the government could set a minimum average mpg for all new cars: say 30 to begin with, rising by a couple every year. This would shut the big 4x4s out of the market immediately (there could be a temporary exemption for farmers).

The alternative is to do as the government is doing now: leave the world to be destroyed, in the name of that marvelous excuse for an absence of leadership: freedom of choice. There's a simple and cost-effective means for Tony Blair to prove that he's serious about climate change: drive these dangerous baubles off the road.
(With apologies to my one (small) SUV-driving reader who actually needs the thing for her work.)