Every now and then, I see a cyclist wearing a mask. For the life of me, I can't figure out why. Air pollution is such a non-issue these days. Thanks to better quality fuels and very clever automotive engineers working continually on ways to produce cleaner burning engines, we are no longer breathing in the shit that we sucked down just 15 years ago. As far as I am concerned, technology and economic growth has largely solved what used to be a terrible environmental problem.
Well, it's solved it here at least. China is another matter.
I pat economic growth on the back because increasing wealth has allowed consumers to (a) get rid of their crappy old oil spewing cars and (b) afford cars that are more technologically advanced. Where do we first see most technical innovations in the auto trade? In expensive marques like Mercedes. As more Mercedes are bought, the unit cost of churning out the next air bag or ABS system or engine management chip falls until they can be fitted into the cheapest Kia.
Next time a no-growth Greenie tells you to consume less to save the planet, do us all a favour and punch them in the balls.