At a UN conference on global warming in Bali last week, a young woman asked Sir David King, the UK's chief scientific advisor, what she could do to stop global warming, reports Wired. "I told her stop admiring young men in Ferraris," King says. And while his comment sounds sexist and kind of crazy, doesn't he make a valid point? A chemist at the University of Cambridge, King believes that there's only so much governments can do to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. "What I was saying is you have got to admire people who are conserving energy and not those willfully using it," he explains. Meanwhile, people who have Ferraris are pissed. Peter Everingham, secretary of the Ferrari Owners Club, says that "nearly 90%" of Ferrari owners are married and "not looking to impress women."
Haha, not even their wives? Anyway, the real issue here is the culture we're living in: Not all women think guys with gas-guzzling sports cars are hot, but in the United States, do we take the global-warming issue personally enough?
In a recent issue of BusinessWeek, senior correspondent David Kiley writes:
Ford and Chrysler do not make a single vehicle for the U.S. that tops 35 mpg. But two things to keep in perspective about this new fuel-economy standard: The European vehicle fleet today already achieves more than 40 mpg. Remember the words of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld when France and Germany would not assist in the Iraq War? He called those countries "Old Europe." Which part of the world looks old now?
So while King shouldn't jokingly blame women for men who buy Ferraris, aren't we all responsible for the cultural shift needed to reduce emissions? Ten or fifteen years ago, only hippie-types were into organic food. Now organic everything is totally common and Whole Foods Market is fetishized. There's buzz around hybrids, but imagine if green, fuel-efficient cars had major desirability and cachet? Who has the power to make them seem hip, alluring, sexy? Hip-hop videos? Teenagers? Women? And as for King, his thinking that men buy Ferraris because women think they're sexy — is that an insult to women? Or to men?
Women Who Find Ferrari Drivers Sexy Contribute to Global Warming? [Wired]
Related: Energy Bill Has Only Half a Tank [BusinessWeek]
Sports Cars More Dangerous Than SUVs [New Scientist]