Saturday, September 22, 2007

The problem with infrastructure

SUV and threatening sky, By ShuckOkay, you've decided that your SUV is a bad thing. You want to reduce your carbon footprint and buy a small car instead. Great... or is it?

Problem is, what do you do with the unwanted SUV? You sell it, of course, and thereby in some cases (like buying a new car to replace it) actually make matters worse. Now there are two cars being used instead of one. The SUV that you used to own is now owned by someone else. It's just as climate-unfriendly as it was when you owned it and it will continue to pump out pollution for years to come. See what I mean?

Solutions? The ideal would be for you to forego the money from the SUV's sale and have it broken up with all its component parts recycled into something more useful. Get real, you might say, that's never going to happen. But it could happen if some special fund were to exist whereby you could get back the full second-hand value whilst the vehicle was permanently taken off-road (!) and recycled. This, done properly, could yield quite a deal of valuable materials as well.

Who would provide this fund and new infrastructure? Any ideas? I suppose some sort of consortium between governments and industry backed up by smart tax structures would do the job. And the principle could extend to other carbon-hungry infrastructure: giant motorhomes, Hummers, aircraft... anything that could be sold on and otherwise continue to pollute for years to come. How can we make it (or something like it) happen?