Why low-emission cars and not more radical change?

Reducing carbon emissions to net zero is partly to be accomplished by swapping diesel and petrol-consuming cars for electric cars by 2030 in the UK. However, this may still cater more to the interests of companies and consumers than the planet.

The moral and political dubiousness of seeking cheap lithium supplies and other essential minerals for producing electric cars is clear in the way it encourages exploitation and meddling in nations such as Bolivia. Moralising about clean energy has potential implications for future conflicts in that it can provide casus belli for such conflicts to be initiated against less fortunate and more polluting countries.

Such excuse-seeking for conflicts would fit with how richer countries maintain their riches at the expense of others, finding all kinds of grievances against their economic underlings that are merely contrived propaganda based on the sensibilities of their privileged population.

Other interests at work

What happens all too often is little more than "greenwashing". Corporations try to tag along with the nobler of government agendas, in hope of getting favour and continuing to accumulate capital. They may buy influence with politicians, who in turn try to square a circle by fitting greedy corporate interests with ecological responsibility.

The goal of continuing to have a transport system dependent on mass personal ownership of cars or something like cars at all may be something deserving of criticism. Cars are inevitably a lucrative industry, so neither governments nor businesses want to lose that industry. The car industry wants more cars out there than people. Given this motive, it cannot be ruled out that the environment will still be damaged by waste and the devastation of mineral-rich nations, and this is because the Western consumer's privileged expectations and preference to have a car at all is still being taken into account.

What is the alternative?

Governments rarely take the initiative to devise great changes to transport as they did in the past (railways only became universal and spread across the territory of a country at the command of the state). They could take the responsibility for actually devising changes to transport again, although only a panel of experts could suggest anything specific.

While it is hard to think of an alternative to a car or something like a car that would satisfy consumers, the government could always enact policies that will decrease the number of cars on the road drastically and perhaps end car ownership, so that cars are only ever at the needed number. This way, the number of electric cars eventually operated would be minuscule, which would have less of an impact. If cars were AI-driven in the future, they would not need to be owned (Great Reset alert!) and could simply be available based on some kind of subscription, being called to pick people up.

Whatever else happens, car manufacturers will always favour there being more cars, not fewer, and that is where there will remain something of a clash between greenwashed greed and eco-friendly policy.