The Californian State vs The EPA

So, the Governator may sue the EPA over their slowness in allowing California to pass a vehicle emissions law. While I applaud this state’s attempts at tackling climate change, I still find it a little ironic that Schwarzenegger is still driving his damn Humvees.

Extracted from the article:
Teased by conference host Michael Milken about his gas-guzzling Hummers, which emit high levels of greenhouse gases, Schwarzenegger said he was having both retrofitted to run on cleaner, renewable fuels.*
But he said making people feel guilty about what they drive was not the answer, and insisted that energy issues and environmental concerns can be addressed with new technology.
“Women who have children like SUVs. We should let them keep their big SUVs and change the technology.”

Something is better than nothing. But I think his point about not making people feel guilty about their lifestyle choices is dangerous in the long run. I can plainly see he’s trying to please two diverse camps here: the environmentalists and the rich middle-to-upper class (which are sometimes one and the same thing here). Sure, a rich state looking to cut greenhouse gases can push the development of new technology, which benefits us in some ways. But will this be affordable to all? I doubt it. Not in the short term anyway. It also side-steps the issue of simply making those minor changes to the things you do, and how you do them. In particular, his example of the women with children who like SUVs, aside from the patronising tone, is wrong on other fronts. The fact that the SUVs are big means it takes more energy to drive them forward and more materials (often petrochemical in nature) to manufacture. Whatever new technology is used in terms of propulsion or fueling, the fact remains that these vehicles will always require more energy to propel. How about changing the minds and aspirations of people instead? How about setting an example and getting rid of the Humvees altogether to be the role model for a successful have-it-all-but-can-give-it-up-for-the-sake-of-the-planet American instead? (And recycle them responsibly too; maybe the Army could use a donation of what was once theirs.)

*He may be referring to ethanol as the renewable fuel, but even that is fraught with environmental issues. Will you devote the entire surface area of the country to growing corn to fuel the cars?


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