Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cars vs. Polar Bear

Predictably, opponents of emissions cuts are doing what they have always done: claim a scientific dispute where none exists and urge that no action be taken until the science is "conclusive." Singing this tired tune, an editorial in the Wall Street Journal last week called the proposal to protect polar bears a "triumph of politics over science," arguing that polar bears are "overly abundant" and that the species cannot be considered threatened until its population has further declined.

The Journal got it wrong in every respect. What is remarkable about the polar bear decision is that it is a rare case of science actually triumphing over politics, not the other way around. From burying the National Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on the United States to trying to gag top NASA climate scientist James Hansen, the Bush administration has systematically attempted to suppress science on global warming.
Los Angeles Times

However, the article doesn't address how this could be used to potentially influence the general public in their transportation choices. Maybe that's our job?

1 comment:

Lilia said...

I want to re-emphasize what I think is exciting about this and may have been lost in edits. Polar Bears are cute. If the gov't says they're threatened by global warming, it opens up an enormous marketing potential to the general public. I believe this is a great opportunity.

We can forget that what goes on in Washington is kinda boring, and isn't necessarily the result to real democracy. I believe that the carfree lifestyle is most effectively promoted TO THE PEOPLE and not to politicians. We can't create policy to prevent people from driving, but, like with smoking and recycling, we can market smart transportation choices to influence behavior.

Of course money and land use controls play an important role, and government provides that. It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg thing. I just believe, in the USA right now, that marketing will be more effective than any policy. And policy that provides an opportunity for effective social marketing validates and promotes it.