Over the holiday period the Guardian’s leader column examines the challenges of the future by fathoming out the present. Today we look at the changing shape of car culture
Lewis Hamilton’s recent declaration of support for climate action attracted derision as well as plaudits. “I like fuel. Can I say that? I don’t like electric stuff,” was the deliberately provocative response from a fellow Formula One driver, Max Verstappen. But the sport is officially on Mr Hamilton’s side. In November it announced a net-zero carbon target of 2030.
In planning to eliminate most of the carbon emissions for which it is responsible, and offset the rest, F1 is part of a growing movement. The most recent round of United Nations climate negotiations may have ended in disappointment. But the past 12 months have undeniably seen a global surge in public awareness and activism on climate issues. Even Jeremy Clarkson, the television presenter and anti-environmental journalist, admitted the danger of global heating in a public statement last month. While filming a journey from Cambodia to Vietnam for his TV show, The Grand Tour, he saw for himself the impact of water shortages on a dried-up riverbed and admitted to being alarmed.