The decline of the Hummer sends an ominous economic warning to Australian leaders if they want to rely on relics of the past to grow our economy in the future, argues Dr Ben McNeil, a climate scientist and economist at UNSW's Climate Change Research Centre.
In an opinion piece published in the Australian Financial Review, he writes that the disastrous strategy of US car makers started in the early 1990s, after the first Gulf War.
"Unfortunately for the Australian car industry, it is dominated by American car makers and still relies heavily on sales of large, powerful, inefficient cars such as the Commodore and Falcon.
"Toyota plans to produce the petrol-electric hybrid Camry in Melbourne by 2010, which is encouraging. But what about Ford and Holden?
"The government is investing $1.3 billion over the next 10 years in a green car fund, but a meaningful carbon price is the most effective way to inspire green innovation. Deep carbon cuts will give Australian industry a comparative advantage in a world short on oil and high on carbon.
"If Australia doesn't pursue a low-carbon economy, some of our most important cars and resources of today may become our biggest liabilities in the future: just ask General Motors."
Dr McNeil's first book, The Clean Industrial Revolution: Growing Australian Prosperity in a Greenhouse Age, has just been published.
Read the full opinion piece on the Faculty of Science website.
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