The market share of SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles) is growing. SUV drivers are looking down on others demonstrating their social status. One’s safety is certainly highly motivating for a person to acquire an SUV, even though the fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions are high and do not relieve the climate change. The SUV is technically efficient but usually bulkier and consumes more energy and resources. The big front of SUVs dramatically increases the air resistance of the vehicle compared to streamlined cars. From physics lessons, we know that air resistance increases quadratically with speed. Accelerating, the speed of the SUV from 130 to 140 km / h, increases the air resistance over 20%.
Source: Christoph E. Mandl, Lernen S‘ in bißschen Physik, Herr Minister! Der Standard Sa/Do., 16/17 February 2019.
Roland Leithenmayr VfV
The IPCC (Weltklimarat) comes to the conclusion that even a warming of two degrees Celsius has severe consequences for our planet and with the currently planned measures of two-degree-celsius-limit cannot be achieved. The focus is therefore on urgency. Ms. Alzbeta Klein, Director of Climate Business at the World Bank Group’s International Financial Corporation (IFC) mentioned in an interview in the Wiener Zeitung 27/28 October 2018 “Climate change is a financial risk!” two technologies to mitigate the climate change problem: one is the storage of solar energy (including for the household) and the other Off-shore-wind power. For both, the World Bank Group is launching a $ 5 billion investment program. Ms. Klein notes a lot of movement at the corporate level citing several reasons: leadership vision and increasing pressure from customers. In summary, Ms. Klein enumerates three levers: visionary business leaders, a government that takes the climate change seriously, and finally the consumer who demands a greenhouse,green car, and food with a good carbon footprint.
Roland Leithenmayr VFV
SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles) are becoming increasingly popular – a paradox!
Before US car companies developed the new car type- the SUV- there were ingenious constructions of cars with fuel consumption of about 1.2 liters per 100 km. This was in line with rising mobility demands, dwindling supplies of oil, and growing concerns about climate change. Although the SUVs required on average 10 times as much fuel, the US government favored the SUV, offered tax incentives and stopped promoting the further development of fuel-efficient and electric cars. The SUV was a triumphal development, still not ending. Moreover, the US government called on its citizens to buy a house outside the city and offered low down payment and interest on the loans. The author of this posting himself acquired a house near Philadelphia, where the bank granted him a 120% loan with a low-interest rate and, also, put a large tax-exempt SUV in front of the garage door. The author lived with the feeling of being able to afford everything in the USA. There were hardly any reasons to pay much attention to “sustainability” and environment. One looked fascinated at global finance capitalism and was annoyed only by the outrageous bonuses to the acrobats of the financial circus. These magicians wrapped the mortgages in Christmas paper and sold them on to banks around the world to reduce the risk of US state-owned mortgage lenders (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). In 2007 and 2008, the mortgage bank crisis broke out, which in turn disrupted the global financial system. The investment banks, which were commissioned by the US government, bet for themselves that the mortgages become worthless. Back to SUV! The aforementioned urban sprawl and the tax-subsidized fuel-cutting SUV combined with the shock of crude oil prices in 2007 and 2008 and mortgage interest rates triggered the crisis, which can be outlined as follows (Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Factor Five, The Formula One sustained growth, 2009): 2007: world oil prices go crazy -> long-distance commuting becomes a nightmare in the US -> the pumped-up houses lose value -> subordinate mortgages turn into financial junk -> mortgage banks crash. This triggers an avalanche, many car stocks are scrap. Over the next 20 years, the shift to electric motors and digitization will lead to further economic upheavals that require a transformation of capitalism (destructive innovation, Joseph Schumpeter).
Roland Leithenmayr VfV
For the first time, a large-scale project in Austria was rejected by the Federal Administrative Court (BVWG) referencing to climate protection targets and ground consumption. It is the third runway at the Vienna Airport. This causes clashes between the supporters and opponents of this third track. The advocates see the danger that the Vienna airport will no longer be able to fulfill the unique feature of “the gate between West into the East” and that the economic- and employment situation in Vienna and around it will be negatively affected. The opponents are glad that this practice will lead further stops for large projects in Austria and abroad. They point to the 21st climate conference of the United Nations (COP21) and to the voluntary reduction plans (NDCs- Nationally Determined Contribution), and that the emissions of Austria have not declined since 1990. The author of this posting recommends applying the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) approach (PPP – Prosperity, Planet, and People) and the 17 SDGs to accomplish a fair evaluation of projects such as the third runway of the Airport Vienna. It shall be noted that the three dimension of the TBL shall be treated equally and balanced and that among the factors of the TBL as well as between the 17 SDGs exist dependencies.
Roland Leithenmayr, FVF
We all like to contribute to sustainability because the individual behavior and the action of each has a significant effect on the planet, whether economically, ecologically or socially. These three dimensions of sustainability shall not be considered separately since they are dependent, and a change of one size will have a positive or negative impact on the other two dimensions. A measurable index of the deterioration of the global climate is the CO2 emissions. For the measurement of personal CO2 emissions, various approaches are available on the Internet. Regularly the program asks the person specific questions, and their answers will allow the program to calculate the own CO2 emissions. There are queries about shopping at the supermarket, the journey by car or train or even by bike or on foot; questions about the use of the washing machine and dryer, on car-sharing, food-sharing, exchange of clothing, use of renewable energy and so on. Contra productive to sustainability is, for example, the TV spot of a well-known supplier of smartphones showing a boy smashing its handy with a hammer and with a “Juhu” to buy a new one cheaply, or to buy a new smartphone, because the repair is too expensive. Those are examples which promote an unsustainable behavior and the same holds for “planned obsolescence “. The pressing question is in which way a person may achieve a climate-friendly lifestyle: the reduction of (energy) consumption and to use public transportation reducing his stress and to attain more enjoyment. The Internet and APPS (Smartphone) provide many opportunities to share digitized knowledge and (social) resources and to calculate alternatives indicating the CO2 emission. How to change the behavior of individuals emphatically: The first solutions is to introduce an eco-tax, but it causes personal pain because it reduces net income and consumption. The second solution is to count on the idealism of the people, but this is certainly a minority. The third solution is to change the human behavior to sustainability by triggering pleasure, satisfaction, and happiness. Which active impulses are recommended to reduce the people’s individual CO2 emissions? Please use the comment box below to submit your activities to reduce CO2 emission or make your recommendation.
Roland Leithenmayr VFV