While Trump is retreating on climate, Volvo just made a bold move away from oil.

Volvos.

Photo by Shirley 501JFW/Wikimedia Commons.

Once preferred by sushi-eating, latte-drinking Hollywood-loving elitists, much like sushi, lattes, and Hollywood, they've now gone mainstream. U.S. sales of the Chinese-owned, Swedish-made vehicles grew by 18% last year, thanks to the most American of car models, an SUV (the popular XC90).  


If all goes according to plan, they're about to get a whole lot cleaner.

The company intends to make all new models introduced from 2019 on either hybrid or fully electric, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

In a statement, Volvo Cars CEO Håkan Samuelsson heralded the move as "the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car."

While bombastic predictions from top executives about their company's impact might not be anything new, the commitment to transitioning away from pure fossil fuel power is.

While efforts to combat climate change have had a rough few months, many companies are continuing to plug along with efforts to limit emissions.

On June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Meanwhile, the EPA continues to attempt to delay implementation of methane emission regulations and reduce global warming to a matter of debate.

Volvo Cars CEO Håkan Samuelsson. Photo by Jonas Ekstromer/Getty Images.

Meanwhile, not only is Volvo seeing green in a transition to green, several major oil companies, including ExxonMobil, recently announced support for a carbon tax, and utilities across the country are accelerating their push to incorporate more renewables.

With the world's second-biggest polluter essentially giving companies a run on the emissions store, the fact that much of private industry is saying, "Eh, we're good," is a hopeful signal.

Despite its lefty rep, Volvo isn't doing this solely out of concern that emissions are devitalizing the dawn aura of Mother Gaia.

Uh oh. Photo by Steve Jurvetson/Wikimedia Commons.

The luxury carmaker faces competition from companies like Tesla, whose Model 3 is expected to start at $35,000, a still-expensive-but-way-more-affordable-than-previous-Teslas price point.

In a weird way, the cynicism of the move is perhaps the most encouraging sign of all.

It might feel icky to see saving the Earth reduced to cold capitalist calculus.

Still, absent a quickie smashing o' the industrialist class hegemony, if a major car company believes there's money to be made in transitioning away from fossil fuels, so much the better.  

Hopefully, more car companies will catch wind of that sweet, sweet money trail and follow Volvo's lead.

Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images.

The fossil fuels might be going away. Thankfully, the cupholders for your grande skinny soy aren't.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less