For those of you haven’t seen the film Who Killed the Electric Car, the premise is quite simple and by the looks of things, it’s a premise that could repeat itself in the next decade or so.
While big automakers, like Ford, Toyota and GM hang a “hybrid plug-in” carrot in front of our collective nose, they’re fighting tooth and nail in California, and elsewhere, against stricter greenhouse gas emission standards for new vehicles.
Here's a fairly new and very needed blog called the Hot House started up by Stuart Leavenworth at the Sacramento Bee.
Stuart will be covering the ins and outs of California's efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. I hope that Leavenworth will be keeping an especially close eye on the lawsuit by the auto industry against the state of California that has effectively delayed action on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions for the better part of 5 years now.
For those readers not familiar with the case. Here's a basic rundown.
Toyota, the world's new number one automaker has been winning praise far and wide for the fuel efficiency of its fleet. And Toyota Vice President Josephine Cooper said in a recent TV interview that “Toyota has long supported increasing fuel economy standards for vehicles, which means increasing CAFE [Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency] standards.”
Yesterday, we reported here on the hypocrisy of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturer's fighting a Supreme Court ruling that could enact tough new CO2 emissions standards on cars and trucks, while stating at the same time on their website that, “Members of the Alliance believe that it is prudent to reduce emissions, including carbon dioxide…”
I can imagine a world in which urban design is so sensible and public transit so convenient that private automobiles become redundant. In the meantime, it's nice to think that we might still have cars that are fun to drive , even if they aren't based on gas guzzling vehicles of war.
Good news… Toyota allegedly has plans to step up its production of hybrid cars by 50% in Japan.
Of course, they are still an auto company, and far from blameless. It'll be interesting to see how the court case we blogged about last week turns out… but nonetheless, it's encouraging to hear of auto manufacturers getting with the times and shifting their trajectory in acknowledgement of the reality of climate change.
Apparently, this moved means that “Toyota is more likely than ever to overtake General Motors Corp as the world's top seller of automobiles – a position GM has held for 75 years.”
California State Attorney Bill Lockyer filed a global warming suit today against auto-giants Ford, GM and Toyota, claiming that green-house gas emissions have done significant damage to the Sunshine State's resources, infrastructure and environmental health.
AG Lockyer states: “Vehicle emissions are the single most rapidly growing source of the carbon emissions contributing to global warming, yet the federal government and the automakers have refused to act.”
Maybe Gov. Schwarzenegger will finally trade in that Hummer for a Tesla electric.
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.