Your everyday habits could land you a fine or even jail time in the future. So let us know some things that will be illegal in the next 50 years.
1. Gas-powered cars
As temperatures around the globe inch up, world leaders are cracking down on the second largest source of climate change: fossil fuels used in transportation, which account for more than half of a typical household’s carbon dioxide emissions. Countries including the United Kingdom, France, China, and India have promised to shift from gas- and diesel-powered cars to electric vehicles by 2050 (or earlier, depending on the country), rewarding owners of electric-powered vehicles in the meantime. At least eight states have made their own goals to sell only zero-emissions vehicles over the next 35 years, and the federal U.S. government could follow the trend.
2. Driving a car
California recently agreed to allow manufacturers to test self-driving cars on public roads as a sign that we’re on track to have driverless cars transport humans by the 2030s, as some automakers expect. If those autonomous cars do succeed in eliminating human error (like car accidents), there could be a push to get the more dangerous human-controlled vehicles off the road. “People may outlaw driving cars because it's too dangerous,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during a 2015 tech conference. “You can't have a person driving a 2-ton death machine.”
3. Incandescent light bulbs
The Energy Independence and Security Act required traditional incandescent bulbs to become about 25 percent more efficient starting in 2012. Because most bulbs didn't meet those standards, they were taken off the shelves, making room for energy-efficient CFL bulbs. In the future, those requirements could get even stricter to phase incandescent bulbs out entirely.
4. Tanning beds for minors
Tanning beds are responsible for more than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the United States every year, according to a study in the journal JAMA Dermatology. Most have age restrictions for minors using tanning beds, and new legislation is passed every year. Australia and Brazil have already banned the beds entirely, and it’s illegal for minors to use them in the United Kingdom. If lobbyists against skin cancer have their way, U.S. laws will follow suit.
5. Caging hens for their eggs
At least 140 major companies—including McDonald’s, Walmart, Target, and General Mills—have promised to use only cage-free eggs by 2026, and laws could seal the deal for the businesses that haven’t made the switch. In December 2017, Massachusetts passed a law requiring eggs, pork, and veal sold in the state to come from animals that weren’t kept in cages, starting in 2022. Thirteen states are suing over the right to produce (and sell) eggs and other animal products how they please, but the Supreme Court has yet to make a decision. But if the push for cage-free holds strong, animal rights supporters might have their way.
6. Refusing vaccinations for a child
As the “anti-vax” movement is gaining steam, so are the diseases those vaccinations hope to protect against with some parents citing false claims that vaccines cause autism have used religious beliefs to refuse the shots for their kids. Seven of the nine court cases over the right to refuse vaccination concluded that refusal was “medical neglect,” though five of those judgments were in states that didn’t have laws allowing refusal for religious or philosophical reasons. The cases that did side with the parents focused on the religious claims, not medical reasons. As pediatricians double down on sharing the evidence supporting vaccines, we might see policies change to bar parents from refusing vaccines, except in rare circumstances or if they can find a legitimate religious-based reason not to.
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