I like Austria. I like the idea of Austria. I wonder what it would be like to live here as more than a tourist.
One condition I look at is air quality. For me an AQI of 45 is high. It means I start to have a breathing problem.
One of the disappointing things is that while other cities are much worse, even Zürich is at or exceeding these levels. These are the levels where a visible smog begins to form. Eugene has these levels and surprisingly places like Salzburg also had these levels. It makes me wonder if this is in someways an accepted norm. My dad ended up in the hospital when I was in 6th grade for the in ability to breath when Frankfurt am Main had an inversion layer one Summer.
So I find it sad that these places that I think of as clean also face smog. It makes me wonder where it comes from. There are many more cars now than there were when I was a kid. Are cars by and large the major contributors? Or are there other factors?
As a thought experiment how expensive does travel, especially air and car travel, need to get to reduce the volume to the point that travel becomes as prohibitive as in the 1810’s? If horses were as valuable and part of the transportation cycle. electric trains are interesting as long as we thing about the source of the electricity, and the plastic on the inside of the cars.
In a systemic way if travel costs go up then what does that mean for tourism industry? If those industries collapse or shrink in size does the labor force move to farming? Facilitating tourism as a profession provides how much livelihood relative to what other options?
Industrial smog through manufacturing is not underestimated. But how many of the things manufactured currently would fall out of production with a reduction in travel?
In some sense it is not just the reduction in carbon emissions, rather it is a whole slew of gases and plastic compounds related to modern industrial processes and consumer centric design.