Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed out

History unfolding in real time



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And in a weird twist of history, what should have been the news story of the week has almost been overpowered by other, dare I say historical, events this week. North Americans — who, individually, have had a vague understanding of it for a while now — are finally beginning to glimpse a nascent political will to tackle some of the larger implications of climate change and peak oil.

Notwithstanding the foreseeable, knee-jerk threat of President Bushed to veto it, a bill that would actually embrace a first-step cap and trade regime to reduce carbon emissions is snaking its way through the U.S. congress. While most Republicans are singing the same-old tired song about not moving too quickly, spending more time studying the issue while New York’s feet get wet and crying about how ruinous it’ll be for the already pretty ruined U.S. economy, enough voices are being heard by enough wannnabe re-elected congressfolk to at least allow George Bush to exercise one more veto and clinch his spot in history as the dumbest man to ever lead a first-world nation.

While the “energy” bill is historic all by itself, it too has to be viewed within its historical context. What common sense failed to kill has been laid low by 4-buck a gallon gasoline. The SUV is officially dead. General Motors is caving to the obvious and closing factories in Oshawa, the U.S. and Mexico that produce the dinosaurs and their kissin’ cousins, Big Pickup Trucks. The days of the Hummer are numbered. And while GM is proving what everyone seemed to know — that their executives and managers have had a bird’s eye view of the final stages of their collective digestive tracts now for quite a few years — Ford announced sales of their best-selling vehicle, the F-series pickups, have fallen by 30 per cent. Even North Americans, star-crossed and smitten by big, gas-guzzling machines, will choose to indulge their addictions to (a) homes and, (b) food, both of which are becoming harder and harder to afford, over their addiction to driving themselves to the poorhouse in idiotic machines.

Let’s face it, if you’re stuck with a 12 mpg albatross that’s worth less every day and for which there is no resale market at any price, you’re best option at this point is to drive it to a liquor store in a “bad” part of town and walk away with it still idling. Someone’ll joyride it until the tank empties and strip it down to its bones.