A transportation revolution is in the making and bets worth hundreds of billions of dollars are being placed. Who might the winner be? Will it be the Tesla-style electric car, the Toyota-style hybrid or the hydrogen car?
Will personal transportation of the Uber ilk, possibly in self-driving form, replace public transportation as we know it? Might the gasoline engine surprise us all and endure for another 20 years, or even a century?
It’s impossible to know, but we do know the game changed more than a little this week when the United Nations published a frightening report that said the planet is warming at a far faster rate than the climate-change scientists had suspected.
We’re on course for a 1.5-degree average warming, over preindustrial levels, by 2040, and even that increase might be optimistically low. Wholesale environmental damage – horrendous floods, droughts, starvation, mass migration, biodiversity die-offs and other nightmares – might soon not be the preserve of Hollywood horror flicks.
In the same week, William Nordhaus became the co-winner of the Nobel Prize for economics. He’s a pioneer in the interaction between the environment and the economy, and has argued forever that putting a price on carbon is the most effective way to reduce the output of planet-warming greenhouse gases.