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“The internal-combustion engine will be banned from the city by the year 2000”

Oops. We’re not quite there yet. But this was the prediction of geologist, Earl Cook, writing in Scientific American in 1971.

He was ahead of his time in other ways, too. Cook (1920-1983) was an expert on resource depletion and environmental degradation. He was an early proponent of the idea that basing an economy on a finite, nonrenewable stock of fossil fuels wasn’t terribly bright. He believed we had to adjust our values and lifestyles in line with energy and resource realities.

In his 1971 article he wrote:

“The automobile engine and its present fuel simply cannot be cleaned up sufficiently to make it an acceptable urban citizen. It seems clear that the internal-combustion engine will be banned from the central city by the year 2000; it should probably be banned right now. Because our cities are shaped for automobiles, not for mass transit, we shall have to develop battery-powered or flywheel-powered cars and taxis for inner-city transport.”

Source: Alexis Madrigal

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