The New York Times Magazine has been teasing out its upcoming issue in recent days, as it’s dedicated to a single story that focuses on how we had an opportunity to address climate change in the 1980s, but failed to do anything. Coinciding with the current administration’s proposal to roll back fuel economy targets, expected to be unveiled this week, the timing couldn’t be any better. The auto industry had begun researching the issue in the early 1980s, the Times notes, and was well aware of the life-altering catastrophes ahead, if no action was taken to address climate change. And yet nothing was done. The crux of it all is that for a while, everyone—politicians, industries, scientists, everyone—agreed that climate change was probably going to end up being an apocalypse-level event at some point. There was the will to put a stop to it. And then money, greed, and genuine evil got involved. Written by journalist Nathaniel Rich, it begins with the sort of thing that reminds you that yes, we’re already living in the post-dystopian nightmare: And while Rich dishes blame equally to everyone, he highlights a couple examples of where the auto industry factors into the equation. Take this, from the late 1980s: The American Petroleum Institute, after holding a series of internal briefings on the subject in the fall and winter of 1988, including one for the chief executives of the dozen or so largest oil companies, took a similar, if slightly more diplomatic, line. It set… [Read full story]
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