As Noam Chomsky observes, cars-first transportation in the United States “was not put to public judgment.” Nor will it ever be, barring a popular rebellion addressing its existence.
But does that mean the population is as brain-dead on the topic as our many capitalism excusers would have you conclude?
Consider the news today that the average age of light vehicles in the United States has now reached an all-time high: over 11 years for cars, and slightly under that for “light trucks.”
No doubt much of that is simply a result of economic hardship among the bottom 90 percent. But DbC would wager that some of it is also a sign of the rationality of the masses. Why would anybody be buying — not to mention marketing — more cars at this point in human history? Inquiring minds want to know.
That, of course, is a truly forbidden question.
NASA researchers confirm that automobiles are the planet’s #1 source of emissions of substances suspected of causing anthropogenic global warming:
In a paper published online on Feb. 3 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Unger and colleagues described how they used a climate model to estimate the impact of 13 sectors of the economy from 2000 to 2100. They based their calculations on real-world inventories of emissions collected by scientists around the world, and they assumed that those emissions would stay relatively constant in the future.
In their analysis, motor vehicles emerged as the greatest contributor to atmospheric warming now and in the near term. Cars, buses, and trucks release pollutants and greenhouse gases that promote warming, while emitting few aerosols that counteract it.
The NASA scientists say, correctly, that conventional reports on climate change focus on chemicals, rather than the sources of the chemicals in actual economic sectors. Only by focusing on the latter, they argue, can we “identify effective opportunities for rapid mitigation of anthropogenic radiative forcing.”
So, if cars are the #1 source of anthropogenic global warming, what do you imagine might be the #1 policy requirement for rapid mitigation of the problem? Rather obvious, but utterly unmentionable…