Just Released! Order “Waking Up to Climate Change” by George Ropes, and receive 25% Discount. Learn More

HOME          CATEGORIES          OUR TAKE

Tesla to Take Bold Step for the Climate

Tesla’s announcement that a Full Self-Driving option will soon be available is a positive first step toward a healthier, more hospitable, and more sustainable Earth.

It looks like autonomous driving is almost here. Tesla just announced that its Full Self-Driving (FSD) option will be available early next year as a monthly lease. The announcement made no mention of regulatory issues. Have they disappeared? The option will be pricey to start, but there will be early adopters eager for bragging rights to offset the cautious, wait-and-see, is it really safe? crowd. It’s a given that other automakers will follow Tesla’s lead and drive down the cost of autonomous driving. At some point, it will be a standard, cheap enough, must-have option. 

All of the implications of autonomous driving have not yet been fully worked out. For sure, Uber and Lyft will be early adopters; ride prices should drop. So too should car ownership; why own a car that is parked most of the day and night when you can order one up whenever you need it without the costs of owning a car? Parking lots and garages can be re imagined and the space they occupy reused. The total number of cars on the road should decline, but by how much depends on driver tolerance for the wait between ordering a car and its arrival for pick-up. New algorithms need to be developed; a job for AI. 

With more people working from home because of the pandemic, there are/will be fewer, smaller offices, and many fewer commuters. Rental prices for urban office space are already in decline. With increasing automation, most factories will need fewer workers. Pressure for a Universal Basic Income (UBI) or even a UI (not so basic) will push such schemes from small experiments to being the norm. That should raise everyone’s income and spur growth in the economy. 

To the extent that most autonomous vehicles (AVs) will be electric (or hydrogen), a fair assumption, they will speed the transition from Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars by lowering demand for gasoline. This will cause lower gas prices as supply exceeds demand, lower profits, and fewer investors for fossil fuel firms. That will lead to the devaluation and bankruptcy of some oil majors as the discovered reserves carried as assets on their books become stranded, uneconomical to exploit, hence valueless. While the transition to a low carbon global economy will create millions of new jobs, governments must prepare for major dislocations in regions and specialized fields long dependent on the massive fossil fuel industry. They must invest heavily in creating sustainable communities more productive and far healthier than before. Economic justice must be the guiding principle for effecting a successful transition to a net-zero emissions planet.  Cities will change as the needs of people, not cars, drive their design. Exactly how AVs will impact the daily lives of Americans and indeed all global citizens will evolve over time, but it seems clear that they will contribute significantly to containing the climate crisis. Tesla’s announcement that a Full Self-Driving option will soon be available is a positive first step toward a healthier, more hospitable, and more sustainable Earth.

Comment on this article

ClimateYou moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (New York time) and can only accept comments written in English.

One Response

  1. Really appreciated this article as it helps me – normal, ordinary, average – to envisage the way ahead and to understand what adjustments may be coming next. Recognizing Both the climate considerations And the community economics most affected acknowledges and demonstrates mature awareness of these complex global issues. If the Pandemic of 2020 did anything that could remotely be considered positive, it did decelerate the pace of life for a while, reminding people everywhere how to live simpler, slower – admittedly not necessarily easier! but more locally. Thank You, George! By your wise analysis in Y/Our Takes, You have primed, poised, prepared us for 2021- pointing out a viable, evolving scenario towards a sensible, sustainable world way of life!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.


More Posts Like This


My Take on Climate Change

According to information given on the website Climate.org, there are a number of statistics which are indicative of the current climate condition: For example, carbon dioxide in the Atmosphere — 414 (Carbon Dioxide…).  According to the Climate Portal of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Atmospheric CO2 levels of


My Take on Climate Change

Imagine it’s Christmas time and there’s no snow outside. In fact, it’s late December and the weather has mostly been warm for a long while since Halloween. The temperature for the most part has been remaining in the 30’s and sometimes early 40’s. Outside, it still looks like


How Solar Energy Minimizes Climate Change

The world is experiencing the impacts of climate change, including rising temperatures, melting ice caps, and extreme weather events. One of the leading causes of climate change is the emission of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, which is produced by the burning of fossil fuels. However, there is