Beat climate change: get out of your car?

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The original purpose of cities was to bring people together. That was their function for thousands of years. Then came the 20th Century and the automobile, which, “blew cities apart.” That’s according to Robert Kunzig of National Geographic, who tells us that, Climate Change may bring cities together again. 

Satellite research by NASA shows that cars--not to mention trucks and buses--produce a major part of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. Getting rid of cars sounds like a helpful solution, and that sounds good for cities like New York which held on to their rail-transit systems. Many people who live there don’t even have a license to drive. 

But, in other cities, “the choices we made 50 years ago have boxed us in.” Getting rid of cars in those places will mean years of urban re-planning and massive instructure construction. Projects are under way in Atlanta, Houston and even Los Angeles--the car capital of the world--but it’s not cheap, and it’s not easy.

So what about the electric car, with a developing market beginning to catch on?  Joann Muller, transportation reporter for Axios, says that still means a lot of cars on the road, so Tesla and other companies are working on cars piloted by Artificial Intelligence to safely negotiate urban sprawl. 

And, consider this Muller says, it’s right out of  The Jetsons; “there’s hope for electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft… these types of air taxis will be in the sky flying around 10,000 feet and they’ll go right up over all this traffic”.  They’ll get you to the airport or wherever in no time.”  

What’s most likely is some kind of multi-model transportation adapted to local conditions.  It will likely include higher-density housing as well as new ways of moving from one place to another.

Credits

Guests:
Robert Kunzig - Senior Environment Editor, National Geographic Magazine - @RKunzing, Joann Muller - Reporter who covers the future of transportation at Axios - @JoannMuller

Host:
Warren Olney

Producer:
Andrea Brody