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interview > romm > romm 28

Romm 28 (1:28)
Topic(s): Efficiency / Environment / Future Transport
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Romm

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Well, I think there's no question that the human race in general, and America in particular, isn't very good at preventing bad things from happening. We're much better at responding to them once they happen, like Pearl Harbor or Sputnik or 9/11. So I think there is a very open question as to whether we are going to act preventatively with global warming, or we're going to have to wait until some really bad things happen—sea levels rise, and the like.

The only problem is that global warming is different from most other environmental problems. You can wait until a river is polluted. I don't recommend it, but you can at least clean up the river in maybe 10 years. If we start to see massive sea level rise because carbon dioxide lingers in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, there's no undoing global warming once it's started down a certain road and crosses certain tipping points that we're maybe 10 to 15 years away from.

So, you know, I think that— I'm cautiously optimistic that there has been a sea change in the way people are thinking about global warming; partly Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth, partly the growing scientific consensus, partly the fact that weather has just been very strange, and I think most people I talk to understand that. So I expect people are going to increasingly demand action on global warming, and the vehicle sector is probably the trickiest sector to deal with, and that's where you're going to need to see more efficiency and more alternative fuels.

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