Interesting story in today’s Independent about events in Brandywine Street, a suburb of Washington DC, which the paper argues is “now on the frontline of America’s fractious debate about climate change.”
It reports: “Early on Monday morning, two masked men arrived there wielding baseball bats and a machete. They then set about attacking the enormous Hummer that had been parked there for not even a week”.
As the owner slept, the attackers smashed every window, battered the panels, slashed the oversized tires and scrawled “for the environ” on the side of the seven-foot-high behemoth. The attackers caused about $12,000 worth of damage before running into the night.
The argument over Hummers and vehicles like them go all the way to the White House. For the past 20 years car manufacturers have successfully blocked attempts to force them to become more efficient.
Curiously, while opinion polls reveal that given an option, three-quarters of Americans want dramatic increases in fuel efficient cars, they prefer to buy gas-guzzling Hummers, Cadillacs and behemoth-sized pickup trucks instead. Thirty years ago “light trucks”, as 4×4 vehicles are classified, were only a fifth of all sales. Today they account for more than half. And in June, according to the latest figures from General Motors, the world’s largest car manufacturer, Hummer sales were up by 11 per cent. As the New Yorker magazine put it: “We buy gas guzzlers, but we vote for gas sipping.”
The attack on the Brandywine Hummer is said to have “triggered an outpouring of rage across the country – on both sides of the divide – and the vehicle has become the latest poster boy for America’s failing attempts to grapple meaningfully with climate change.”
As to the owner of the Hummer he is said to be in shock. “To tell you the truth,” he says, “I never even thought about the environmental impact of the Hummer in the months I spent thinking about buying it.”
Says it all really..