Monday, 3 August 2020

A survivor from a parallel apocalyptic universe speaks...

From the BBC:

A new campaign called "Badvertising" is demanding an immediate end to adverts for large polluting cars...

Andrew Simms, one author, said: "We ended tobacco advertising when we understood the threat from smoking to public health. Now that we know the human health and climate damage done by car pollution, it’s time to stop adverts making the problem worse. There’s adverts, and then there’s badverts, promoting the biggest, worst emitting SUVs is like up-selling pollution, and we need to stop."

I've no sympathy with people who drive unnecessarily large vehicles (whether gas guzzler or SUV, it's all just conspicuous consumption and a pain in the arse for pedestrians and people in sensibly sized cars), but I doubt that an advertising ban is going to make the slightest bit of difference.

The car manufacturers probably won't care too much. The main purpose of advertising is to retain market share and not increase the size of the overall market. So it's an arms race and an advertising ban is a straight cost-saving.

But it gets funnier. The Stigler, on Twitter, asked:

Andrew Simms? The bloke from NEF who was saying we only have 100 months to save the planet from irreversible climate change back in 2008?



Lola said...

What's wrong with 'conspicuous consumption'? In a world where we are 'free to choose' it's our own stupid fault if we buy an expensive car. And the Good Thing about cars is that they are very democratising. That flash Range Rover cannot use the piece of road I am using in my old Ford...and we both know that - to the general irritation of the RR driver.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, I've nothing against conspicuous consumption, our economy depends on it!

What I mind is inconsiderate drivers in massive vehicles, tailgating you, parking badly, not checking behind them when reversing etc. That goes for white van drivers as well, of course.

Lola said...

Yeah. #metoo.

mombers said...

A concern with SUVs is the massive and tragic externalities that they cause in higher road fatalities. There's no argument about the science here - you're much more likely to be killed by someone playing army army on the way to the shops than a car driver. Particularly pedestrians. Pedestrian deaths are up 50% in the US (<a href=">50% in the US</a>) while overall deaths are down. Don't have figures for UK but there's a concern that trade deals will involve accepting more road deaths

Cars in general have taken a lot of freedom away from people, especially children. I'd like to see much less public land given to cars, e.g. more pedestrianised town centres, 20mph speed limit off motorways and rural roads. Saving a few seconds on a short trip is not worth someone dying, particularly if they have not consented to a car centric arrangement

Mark Wadsworth said...

M, I'm speaking as a pedestrian, as a driver and a resident.

Those wankers (SUV and white van) bomb down our 20 mph clearly residential road at any old speed they like. There are cars parked on both sides which makes it quite narrow (especially if it's Range Rovers on both sides).

White vans have to be big for carrying stuff around, can't be helped. You can pop to Waitrose or take Oliver and Jocasta to school just as well in a Fiat 500.

Shiney said...

You'd fix all of it by banning on street parking.

Haven't got room to park the car on your property (or in a designated off road space)? Tough, you can't have a car then.

I mean, lets say I 'conspicuously consume' a fuck off Grand Piano to show how rich I am - wouldn't be allowed to park it outside my house on the road, would I? Or say I had too much furniture for my small terrace and bought a shipping container to store it? Same applies.

So why the F am I allowed to park a dirty great lump of metal in a public space and 'consume' a valuable shared resource?

Mark Wadsworth said...

Sh, you have a bug bear about on-street parking. If roads are wide enough (and that's a big if), the most efficient use for them is on-street parking.

For a fixed amount of land, shorter gardens and on-street parking means you can squeeze in a few more homes.

Of course, there is a trade-off between using land for pavements, cycle lanes, parking spaces, usable road or longer front gardens (with off-street parking). Everybody can have their own opinion on that.

A grand piano would rot and rust. And if you need to store furniture, the most efficient place to store them is in some massive out-of-town warehouse with several storeys and a big lift.

mombers said...

Interestingly, The Netherlands did an experiment where people could use parking spaces for non-car related purposes, e.g. a bunch of planter boxes. It is a terrible waste of space a lot of the time. Parking is ~£50 where I live. If I could get an extra 11.52 m² added to my garden for £50 I'd be thrilled. Hopefully autonomous vehicles, uber, ZipCar etc. will reduce the amount of parking space. Cars are already a massive waste of capital, sitting idle 99% of the time.
Of furthe rinterest are the howles of outrage over plans to turn TfL car parks into housing. The deeply flawed distribution of the land rent on these sites aside, it's crazy to waste such valuable space on parking. You can retain a few disabled parking spots, everyone else should get the bus or walk.
Also objections over developments close to tube stations not having large amounts of parking. The flats specifically do not come with a right to a resident parking space, and why would someone who wants to have a car on their doorstep choose to live in a flat that is much more expensive than a big house far from a tube station?