Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Professor Simon Dalby thinks the way to discourage buying petrol cars is to decorate new cars with mandatory images of climate disasters.
Thank you for not driving: Climate change requires anti-smoking tactics
November 20, 2017 9.21am AEDT
ust before the delegates for the annual Conference of the Parties on climate change started meeting in Bonn this month, the Lancet, the leading British medical journal, published yet another major studyshowing that climate change is a growing health hazard.
The study revealed that hundreds of millions of people around the world are already suffering due to climate change. Infectious diseases are spreading faster due to warmer temperatures, hunger and malnourishment is worsening, allergy seasons are getting longer and sometimes it’s simply too hot for farmers to tend to their crops.
But what would happen if we treated climate change as a health problem rather than an environmental one?
Many countries require packaging that alerts smokers to the dangers of the “cancer sticks” they are purchasing, and many cartons carry dire health warnings. In some cases, images of the grievous bodily harm caused by prolonged exposure to tobacco smoke must be printed on cigarette cartons. It’s all designed to discourage smoking and make plain the damage it causes.
Like cigarettes used to be, internal combustion-engined vehicles are ubiquitous. According to advertisers, their possession and use apparently infers social status. Equated with freedom, despite the amount of time drivers spend stuck in traffic, gasoline-burning cars are supposedly the ultimate symbol of individualism, autonomy and power.
So, how about a ban on advertising internal combustion engine-powered vehicles? No longer could they be shown as a symbol of glamour and sophistication to young people. Instead, the consequences of their widespread use could be highlighted.
Cigarette packaging displays health warnings, so why not have gasoline- and diesel-fueled cars decorated with images of disasters, floods, damaged buildings, hurricane devastation and the like?
The Professor fails to explain what makes alternatives to combustion engine cars so green. Electric cars are particularly silly – it is ridiculously inefficient to burn fossil fuels, convert the heat into electricity, and use that electricity to charge a battery, compared to burning the fossil fuel directly in a combustion engine.