As autonomous vehicles become a real choice for our neighborhoods, transit hubs, entertainment districts, and downtown cores, there is an opportunity for them to bring environmental benefits. But realizing those benefits will require us to take a hard look at how personal cars—even the driverless kind—fit into urban life.
Drought, rampant wildfire in the outback, and the degradation of the treasured Great Barrier Reef have forever altered how Australia views its energy endowment. Facing a future as one of the places on Earth most vulnerable to climate change, and one of the nations with the world’s highest per capita carbon emissions, Australia has taken steps to change its fate.
Would brand-new reactors have fared better in the power outage that triggered dangerous overheating at one of Japan’s oldest power plants? Not necessarily. The vast majority of plants under construction around the world are the same 1970s vintage as Fukushima Daiichi, and without integrated passive safety systems.