The Obama administration’s proposed mileage standards that will be announced today may kill more Americans at a faster rate than the Iraq War — his signature issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.
Obama’s standards will require automakers to meet a 35 miles-per-gallon standard by 2016 — four years earlier than the same standard imposed by the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007.
As discussed in my new book Green Hell, the only way for carmakers to meet these standard is to make smaller, lighter and deadlier cars.
The National Academy of Sciences has linked mileage standards with about 2,000 deaths per year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every 100-pound reduction in the weight of small cars increases annual traffic fatalities by as much as 715.
In contrast in the more than six years since the Iraq war began, there have been 4,296 deaths among American military personnel.
There’s also another lesson hidden in the proposed standards — one that applies to businesses trying to game global warming legislation.
Carmakers lobbied hard against overly stringent mileage standards in the 2007 energy bill, finally negotiating with Congress a compromise standard they thought they at least had a chance to meet. President Obama has now pulled the rug out from under the carmakers and their 2007 deal.
This ought to serve as a lesson for businesses trying to negotiate a climate deal they think (hope) they can survive. Rest assured that as soon as business groups agree to a climate deal, the greens and the Obama administration will go to work the next day figuring out ways to bulldoze the deal in order to make greenhouse gas limitations more stringent and more expensive.
Businesses often operate under the mis-impression that they can cut lasting, win-win compromises with environmental groups on public policy. But such dealing is an impossibility since the greens are ideologically driven and won’t be happy until capitalism is stamped out. The greens are not interested in compromise. Like blood in the water to sharks, compromise by businesses signals its weakness and vulnerability, and, therefore, opportunity for the greens.