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Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Cleaner, Smarter Cars Hardcover – April 7, 2015
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Enlightening . . . With her firsthand knowledge of the designs and methods the auto industry is using to achieve this milestone, Oge is the perfect person to preview the type of vehicles we will likely be driving over the next several decades. . . . Readers tired of traffic gridlock and expensive gas bills will enjoy this vision of hack-proof, computer-driven, self-parking cars, along with Oge’s optimism about halting global warming.” Booklist
"Let's get straight to the dirt: Margo Oge knows where the bodies are buried . . . [and makes] astonishing revelations about exactly how good policy based on science in thwarted by political hacks."Electric Car Online
"Margo tells the incredible story of how California and then Washington were able to mandate much cleaner cars and light trucks. This is the story of how hard it is to combat climate changeand also how imaginative and determined leaders can get it done." Governor Jerry Brown
"Margo Oge describes the astounding transformation of cars and trucks in Americacutting pollution by more than 97 percent, and greenhouse gases by more than halfand shows the way to complete this job. It is a compelling story and a great read." Hal Harvey, CEO of Energy Innovation
Driving the Future is a testament to the progress that is possible when committed public servants are allowed to follow the scientific evidence where it leads and to envision and then execute ambitious plans for a better technological and environmental future.” Lisa Heinzerling, Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
"Margo Oge provides a riveting insider’s account of the people, science, politics, and technologies behind an improbable victory in the battle against global warming. Based on her understanding of how regulation can drive innovation, she depicts a future in which cleaner, lighter, smarter cars will become tools in the fight against climate change rather than contribute to it. Every citizen should read her book and feel proud of what we can accomplish together." Lisa Jackson, EPA administrator under President Barack Obama
Drawing upon her experience as an architect of game-changing fuel economy standards, Margo Oge gives us a roadmap to a future world of better and cleaner cars, healthier air, reduced geopolitical conflict, and stronger communities. If we get there, it will be because of visionaries such as Oge.” Ken Kimmel, president, Union of Concerned Scientists
"Margo and her team at the EPA helped craft far-reaching GHG and fuel economy standards for the US that are accelerating the adoption of future automotive technologies like plug-in electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. Margo has the credibility and the record for convincingly discussing a carbon free future in her book, a vision we share." Ulrich Kranz, BMW, senior vice president, Product Line i
"Driving the Future is a real-world story about the policy visionaries, business leaders, and dedicated citizens who are spurring the clean energy revolutionand ushering in a new era of prosperity for our nation and the world." Fred Krupp, president, Environmental Defense Fund
Margo has given us a fascinating insider’s view of regulatory development and a framework for collaborative rulemaking that literally changed the faceand tailpipesof an industry, and a thoughtful look forward to future opportunities.” Tom Linebarger, chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc.
Driving the Future is the story of a dramatic success in a key battle in the fight against global warmingimproving the environmental performance of vehicle fleetswith a lucid explanation of how to bridge science and public policy. Reading the book is as pleasant as having a talk with a good friend, and as informative as a full course in public policy.” Mario J. Molina, PhD, professor at the University of California, San Diego, and winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his role in elucidating the threat to the earth’s ozone layer from chlorofluorocarbon gases
"It's a great story: an insider's account of the unprecedented collaboration of politicians, regulators, and industry that created the world's first standards for low-carbon vehicles and a practical guide to steps that all of usincluding consumersmust take to create a global market for vehicles that can take us where we want to go while dodging the worst effects of climate change." Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board
"Five stars to Margo Oge! She may be a veteran regulator, but she also has the vision thing, the broad historical and conceptual perspective that made her one of EPA's stars in the historic achievement of cleaner cars and in the cause of averting climate change. Not to mention that her writing is fluid, engaging, and makes a complex story hard to put down." William Reilly, EPA administrator under President George H. W. Bush
"This book should be a must-read for anyone who wants to know how the regulatory process actually works. Margo Oge provides a compelling insider's account about the making of President Obama's landmark vehicle emission rules. She describes how she and her dedicated team at EPA fought political interference under the Bush Administration, formed a crucial partnership with innovative California regulators, and found key allies within the new Obama team."Congressman Henry Waxman
Driving the Future describes a success story in bridging science and regulation and provides a creative road map for future cleaner cars. It offers very valuable lessons for building a future blue sky and low carbon society in China and other developing countries. Thanks, Margo Oge!”Kebin He, dean, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, China
About the Author
Margo Oge retired as director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality after thirty-two years with the EPA. She received Presidential Awards from Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and numerous environmental and industry awards. She is vice chairman of the board of DeltaWing Technologies, which is creating a new passenger car based on the DeltaWing race car, and is a board member of the National Academies of Science, UCS, ICCT, and ACE. She has an MS in engineering from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and attended George Washington and Harvard Universities. She resides in McLean, Virginia.
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Top Customer Reviews
I had the rare good fortune of attending Margo Oge's lecture at Prose and Politics Washington, DC. Naturally, after the mind-boggling lecture I purchased her book and examined it myself. It was quite a revelation. Excited by the book and wanting to share my new found knowledge, I bought copies for my son and some close friends.
Driving the Future by Margo Oge far exceeded my expectations. It reminded me of Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed. Her book has the potential to revolutionize our approach to how we view our transportation and how we can protect our environment. It shocked and amazed me how much can be done now and in the future to accomplish this. She is like a prophet form the Old Testament informing us of our past mistakes and how we can prevent from making them in the future.
With her scientific knowledge and firsthand experience how government and industry operate she has shown us the way to break the logjam of not making the necessary corrections. The rest of us as citizens need to follow through and heed her advise
The next chapters examine the future of mobility and the factors driving it, and are fine and readable as well.
But the last chapter, where the author takes a more personal approach again and describes the lessons she's learned in her impressive career trajectory, is worth its weight in gold.
In sum, there's a lot to recommend here for aspiring policymakers or wonks who want to make a difference, as told by one of the brightest stars in the clean transportation world.
Part One: Climate Journey. Climate is cyclical and humans are impacting that balance; this discovery in the mid-19th century revolutionized the way humans interact with the environment. Many of those industries with a stake against regulation (automobile, power production, and manufacturing) claimed that the available climate science was insufficient to argue anthropogenic causes.
Part Two: The Big Deal. The EPA was formed by Nixon because the smog in LA was causing obvious health consequences. The regulatory body initially focused on pollutants that were directly harmful to human health, then went on to regulate emissions that may cause environmental damage such as acid rain, ozone depletion, greenhouse effect. Introduction of the catalytic convertor is seen to be one of the great wins of the agency because it was a fairly cheap solution that saved millions of lives. The Environmental Protection Agency worked with domestic industries and states to develop enforceable rules against pollution. Convincing the EU and China to join in the emissions reductions is critical to prevent fracturing of the global market.
Part Three: Imagining Tomorrow. The EPA has laid the groundwork to force automobile manufacturers to improve fuel economy of their fleet by an average of around 5%/year for the next 25 years. Technologies to accomplish this include: lighter vehicles (carbon fiber, aluminum), hybrids, fully electric, ethanol fuel compatibility, and fuel cells. Vehicles are more interconnected to improve safety and drivability. Innovations such as ZipCar and Uber make it much easier for individuals to get around without owning a vehicle. The future may trend towards self-driving cars that are rented on demand similar to public transportation. This trend would reduce parking and congestion issues drastically.
I picked this book up expecting a window into the development of futuristic cars, however Margo Oge describes herself as “not a car expert,” and the superficial technical descriptions confirm as much. The opening section on climate change focuses primarily on legislative resistance to regulation rather than discussing the mechanisms of greenhouse gas or human contribution to our climate. The first two sections come off as partisan giving the “blocking Republicans” and self-serving auto industries a bad rap. The middle section in particular is a fairly self-aggrandizing narrative of Oge’s journey in accomplishing a very small amount of legislation to force the auto industry to build more efficient cars. I was pleased to see that she mentioned the indirect costs of petroleum through the USA presence in the Middle East and subsidies for oil drilling. The economics of internal combustion vs. hybrid vs. electric helped me to see the picture more clearly as well. The third part was really the only one I found interesting, and though it lacked technical details, it did discuss the trend of future cars.
Recommendation: If you find this book before 2020, read the last section of this book for a top level view of the future of cars. After a few years, I’m sure some of the predictions will be a reality and some will appear comically uninformed. The rest of the book may be beneficial if you are interested in the EPA’s relationship with car manufacturers between 2000 and 2015. This is not the book for climate science information. See The Whole Story of Climate: What Science Reveals About the Nature of Endless Change by Kirsten Peters.
Let's be honest, a lot of this story is about creating regulations and the bureaucracy that goes hand in hand with working for the Federal government which doesn't seem like it would make for the most interesting reading -but- the crazy part was that it was so amazingly well written that it was more like being inside an episode of Aaron Sorkin's West Wing. I could not put this book down in anticipation of what would happen next. As an aside: it was gut-wrenching reading about so many devoted EPA employee's works floundering in a single unread email so that the administration on the time would not have to act.
If you are interested in reading about solutions for climate change, what happened behind the scenes at EPA during some of the biggest recent events, the history of how climate change has become the topic it is in politics, or just curious to see an expert's take of what the future might hold in transportation- this is an incredible story that I wholeheartedly recommend.
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economy regulations, developed under her leadership prior to her retirement from the...Read more