January 20, 2018
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Obama’s ‘pollution-free society’ is needed to combat climate change

By Wayne Madsen, Tribune News Service
George Danby | BDN
George Danby | BDN

Big auto and big oil killed the electric car once. They won’t be permitted to do so again.

In the mid-1990s, General Motors manufactured a limited production run of the electric EV1.

GM’s EV1 was a corporate ruse designed to prove to consumers that there was no great demand for the electric car. Between GM and Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, Honda and Toyota, 5,000 electric vehicles were produced in the 1990s.

Then big auto declared the venture to be a failure and the electric vehicles were either destroyed or donated to museums.

Big auto and their friends in the oil industry played the consumers for suckers in the 1990s.

But the increasing threat of climate change brought on by greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel engines has focused the attention of consumers and governments beyond the self-serving gimmicks of the auto and oil industries. Electric vehicles are here to stay and stay they will.

European and Asian companies have announced they will ban cars that are powered by gasoline and diesel within the next few decades.

Fossil fuel-powered vehicles will be banned by Britain and France by 2040. China leapfrogged the Europeans by 10 years in announcing that fossil fuel vehicles will be off China’s roads by 2030.

Japan is taking measures to transform its fossil fuel-based automobile industry workforce to one that will be working in an industry that produces batteries and electric motors instead of internal combustion engines.

And New Zealand is planning on 64,000 electric vehicles in the country by 2021. To that end, New Zealand is requiring that one-third of all government vehicles be electric by 2021.

India, where people are literally choking to death on heavy smog, largely produced by fossil fuel vehicles in heavily-populated urban areas like Mumbai, is also planning to mandate electric vehicles on its roads and highways.

Deadlines for mandatory electric vehicles is not a left versus right issue. Britain’s Environment Secretary Michael Gove, a member of the Conservative Party, stated in July that Britain could not “carry on with diesel and petrol cars.” Gove emphasized that there is “no alternative to embracing new technology.”

The United States will soon find that there is no market abroad for dirty fossil fuel vehicles or their parts.

President Donald Trump, who threw one of his tiresome and childish temper tantrums in pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accord, continues to yammer on about America producing fossil fuel vehicles powered by U.S. gasoline regardless of the environmental damage to Alaska, the northern Prairies, the Gulf of Mexico, and offshore Atlantic and Pacific marine areas.

America, under Trump, is ridiculously and dangerously out-of-step with the rest of the world on striving toward zero-emission vehicles.

The “drill, drill, drill” nonsense of Trump and his Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department, with a weakened U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration powerless to deter them, should be nullified by every U.S. state and territory.

To their credit, California; New York; Washington state; Washington, DC; Oregon; and other states have maintained America’s commitment to a green economy and zero-emission vehicles.

Eight states have set mandates for electric vehicles. They have done so amid active opposition from the Trump White House and an EPA that seeks to pollute — not protect — the environment.

America once led the world in developing new technologies. Trump and his big auto and big oil cronies are presiding over an American economy that will soon be bypassed by Europe, Japan and China in marketing zero-emission electric vehicles.

Barack Obama’s dream of a United States with all-electric cars is one of the best things his presidency left behind.

Wayne Madsen, a graduate of the University of Mississippi, is a progressive commentator whose articles have appeared in leading newspapers through the U.S. and Europe.

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