Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 22:32 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 22:32 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: Cars and climate change


Sam Roggeveen


4 July 2008 12:11

Colin writes in reponse to Fergus' post on climate change:

While 75 percent of us regard climate change as an important issue, according to a poll, we just don't think it should impact our need for speed, power and adulation from pedestrians as they desperately dodge and weave out of our prestigious vehicles' paths. But hey, if the billboard ads tell me what I need, who am I to argue?  'In 2007, sales of sports utility vehicles were up 16 per cent, with sales of other cars up more than 6 per cent. Gas-guzzling sports utilities now account for about a quarter of total car sales.' - Ross Gittins.

The fact that people respond to price signals by buying fast, powerful and inefficient cars does not make them stupid or gullible. And when those price signals change and we start buying smaller, more efficient cars, that won't be a sign of our environmental virtue, either. It's just markets at work.

There is simply no way we will address this problem by relying on people's good will to 'do the right thing'. Hectoring people about their environmental vandalism when all they are doing is enjoying the spoils of living in a free and prosperous society is an even worse idea.