What is the path forward? Trains!

Two stabilization wedges (see 'What is a stabilization wedge?' for more info) exist in cars, specifically. The first: by 2050, halve the average travel distance of 30mpg cars driven per year, from 10,000 miles a year to 5,000. The second: by 2050, double the average gas mileage, from 30mpg to 60. If we did both of these, the savings in carbon dioxide released would be even better. Sweet stuff, right?

Lester Brown has a guest column at gristmill that spells out how incredibly awesome high-speed rail is, what it's done for Japan and Europe, and how we should go about doing it properly. The short story is basically that high-speed rail is energy efficient and super cool. Trains! Going 190 miles-per-hour is sweet!

Of course, he holds up Europe and Japan as great examples of high speed trains moving people around, and the only flaw there is that Europe and Japan are much more compact than the United States - especially when you start going East-West. A nationwide connection of high-speed rail is a little dubious, but there's no doubt that high-speed rail could benefit areas like the Pacific Northwest (Portland to Seattle in an hour is probably feasible), the Californian coast, and of course all up and down the East coast.

Would it cost a lot? Absolutely. But it would be totally worth it. Check out Brown's article.

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