Diridon: Good cars, bad cars

California, New York, and 15 other progressive states asked auto makers to help fight rapidly worsening climate change by meeting cleaner Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Last year the federal government inexplicably cut that requirement.

Four auto makers agreed with those 17 states to voluntarily continue to meet the more healthy CAFE standards. To make a few more dollars per vehicle while polluting the air that our children must breath, General Motors, Chrysler, and Toyota refused to meet the improved CAFE standards. Those regressive car builders persuaded the EPA to recommend, and the President has directed, that the healthy mileage standards, supported by 17 states representing a majority of the nation’s population and four major auto manufacturers, be drastically rolled back.

The resulting major increase in air pollution, over the long term, will insidiously harm more people, especially children, than COVID 19 that is currently recognized as a pandemic.

How do we fight back? Stop buying dirty Chevrolet, Chrysler and Toyotas and vote in November!

Modern ethics lessons stress the corporate responsibility for a balance between stockholders’ profits and a healthy society. Ethicists must be screaming that this pollution for profit should not be allowed.  Chevy and friends have flunked “citizenship”.

That’s not the first egregious GM bad faith decision. In the 1990s GM technologists created the remarkable EV1 electric car. California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) contributed to that success with technology-forcing more efficient CAFE standards and assisted with the development costs. But, when a new CARB no longer required the EV1, GM took back, crushed, and buried over 1,000 EV1s in a land fill, all documented in Al Gore’s “Who Killed the Electric Car” movie that helped him win a Nobel Prize.

Now GM has done it again.  Will they stop producing their Volt and Bolt, both fine electric cars? Will the Toyota Prius become history too? Or are they just currying favor with a regressive federal executive?

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres declares that less than 12 years may be left before the point of no return when Mother Earth will not be able to recover no matter what we do. Though we’ve a temporary respite during the COVID-19 cloister order, climate change has been rapidly worsening, as declared by over 99% of the of the world’s peer reviewed and published scientists. Atmospheric CO2 is double the highest levels in the last 800,000 years, as recorded in polar ice corings, resulting in the past five years being the hottest in recorded history.

As the polar caps melt, millions of homes begin to be inundated around the world. Radically inclement weather is worsening flooding, droughts, wildfires, and crop failures worldwide. The result is mass extinction of species, spreading disease and famine, and increasing mass migrations that humanity cannot ignore.

The largest most controllable source of climate change gasses, according to Paul Rogers’ fine August 8, 2013 Mercury News article, is transportation. CARB’s example for the world required stringent reductions in that auto pollution to avoid global Armageddon.

Support the good guys; buy a Ford, VW, BMW, or Honda, or other electric car, use transit, bicycles, or walk.

A future for our children is at stake.

Rod Diridon, Sr. is the chair of the Silicon Valley Ethics Roundtable, past chair of the Transit Cooperative Research Board of the National Research Council, past chair of the national Council of University Transportation Centers and past chair of the American Public Transportation Association.

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