The New York Times on Europe's pollution permits Amidst a sagging European economy, Stanley Reed and Mark Scott investigate the promise (and reality) of European Union Allowances, the basis of the EU's cap-and-trade scheme. "When the emissions trading system was started in 2005, the goal was to create a global model for raising the costs of emitting greenhouse gases and for prodding industrial polluters to switch from burning fossil fuels to using clean-energy alternatives like wind and solar." But prices have fallen dramatically, revealing structural blunders. "The reality has been far different because of serious flaws in the design of the system. To win over companies and skeptical countries like Poland, which burn a lot of coal, far too many credits have been handed out."
Scientific American on the rise of car ownership How do car companies persuade Americans to purchase cars? Krystal D'Costa investigates that question by studying the way cars have been advertised as tokens of human agency. "Car ads today work to capture these themes of choice, control, and freedom: In a random survey of Men’s Health magazine, the auto spreads on the back pages showed automobiles helping people reconnect with nature ..., or overcoming challenging weather by highlighting their safety features ... or conveying a sense of luxury. ... The automobile doesn’t need to mechanically justify itself. Instead, advertisers work to convince consumers that the automobile can be a partner."