The regulations concerning transportation standards developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have one main objective – the minimization of greenhouse gas emissions by light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles.
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The purpose of the transportation regulations of EPA is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions that are just as harmful as non-GHG pollutants but have an additional capacity to destroy the atmosphere contributing to the global warming.
The reason and the goal behind the regulations are ethical as they attempt to enforce an environmental solution to improve the quality of life of the whole planet and protect the humanity from natural disasters that could occur due to the global warming. However, the regulations have already demonstrated some unethical outcomes.
The most significant ethical issue concerns the manufacturing and retail of automobiles. The problem is that the engines that use diesel fuel tend to release carbon dioxide (CO2), whereas the ones powered by gasoline produce nitrogen oxide emissions (Ethics Alarms, 2015).
That way, based on the regulations of EPA, the vehicles with diesel-powered engines quickly lost their popularity in the United States. Attempting to preserve their income, the car manufacturer Volkswagen has developed a cheating device that would fabricate false results each time the vehicles are tested for carbon emissions (Ethics Alarms, 2015).
This issue is most likely to surface in the paper. Another ethical problem of EPA’s regulations concerns the fact that the reduction of GHG-pollutants in the air would not make it cleaner to breathe since the carbon emissions would be simply replaced by non-GHG ones. In turn, the category of non-GHG emissions is broad and includes such substances as sulfur and nitrogen oxides, ozone, air toxics, and carbon monoxide (EPA & NHTSA, 2011).
All of these pollutants produce adverse effects on people’s health. That way, the regulations developed and enforced by EPA and NHTSA do not carry strictly beneficial character. Consequently, making a statement that these regulations are going to bring nothing but advantages for the society is unethical and insensitive.
It is necessary to remember about the dual nature of these regulations as it indicates the complexity of the environmental issues and how tightly they are intertwined with many other spheres of life such as economics and business, public health, equality, and human rights, to name a few.
Basically, the main reason why our society and the political leaders namely have not addressed the environmental problems and have not enforced any radical measures is because of the unbreakable and complex connections between a multitude of aspects of our life, comfort, and prosperity.
In other words, the main ethical challenge is based on the fact that eliminating one serious problem would inevitably result in serious damage for many other spheres. Naturally, even less drastic solutions (such as EPA’s regulations) have made a negative impact on the transportation industry.
In order to avoid making unethical statements in the paper, I would be wise to approach the discussed problem objectively and avoid siding with any of the participants. The best tools to accomplish an impartial analysis of the issue are critical thinking and emotional maturity. That way, making judgments, it is vital to use facts and carefully cite the sources from which they are taken.
EPA & NHTSA. (2011). Final Rulemaking to Establish Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/regulations-emissions-vehicles-and-engines/final-rule-greenhouse-gas-emissions-standards-and-fuel
Ethics Alarms. (2015). The VW Scandal: Huge Consequences, Simple Ethics Lessons, Ominous Implications. Retrieved from https://ethicsalarms.com/2015/09/27/the-vw-scandal-huge-consequences-simple-ethics-lessons-ominous-implications/