Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pg. 99: D. Sperling & D. Gordon's "Two Billion Cars"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Two Billion Cars: Driving Toward Sustainability by Daniel Sperling and Deborah Gordon.

About the book, from the publisher:
At present, there are roughly a billion motor vehicles in the world. Within twenty years, the number will double to 2 billion, largely a consequence of China's and India's explosive growth. Given that greenhouse gases are already creating havoc with our climate and that violent conflict in oil-rich nations is on the rise, does this mean that matters will only get worse? Or are there hopeful signs that effective, realistic solutions can be found?

In Two Billion Cars, transportation experts Daniel Sperling and Deborah Gordon provide a concise history of America's love affair with cars and an overview of the global oil and auto industries. America is still the leading emissions culprit, and what is especially worrying is that developing nations are becoming car-centric cultures as well. The authors explain how we arrived in this dangerous state, and also what we can do about it. Sperling and Gordon expose the roots of the problem-- the resistant auto-industry, dysfunctional oil markets, short-sighted government policies, and unmotivated consumers. They zero in on reforming our gas-guzzling culture, expanding the search for low-carbon fuels, environment-friendly innovations in transportation planning, and more. Promising advances in both transportation technology and fuel efficiency together with shifts in travel behavior, they suggest, offer us a realistic way out of our predicament.

Ironically, the authors contend that the two places with the most troublesome emissions problems--California and China-- are taking the lead in developing effective strategies that can help wean us from our reliance on conventional, petroleum-fueled cars. California's embrace of eco-friendly policies, which Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger discusses in the foreword, and China's willingness to confront the twin environmental and energy crises wrought by an exponential growth in cars, suggest that if they can develop ingenious and effective solutions, then there really is reason for hope.
Learn more about Two Billion Cars at the Oxford University Press website.

Daniel Sperling is Professor of Engineering and Environmental Science & Policy at the University of California, Davis, and Founding Director of University of California, Davis's Institute of Transportation Studies. Deborah Gordon is a senior transportation policy analyst who has provided consulting services to the National Commission on Energy Policy, the California Energy Commission, Hewlett Foundation, and the Chinese government to develop fiscal policies for their burgeoning auto fleet.

The Page 99 Test: Two Billion Cars.

--Marshal Zeringue