According to a new report by the Transportation Research Board, the problem is that the cars contribute to climate change by adding their fossil fuel emissions to the atmosphere, and the man-made changes can then affect the weather, among other things. The TRB's study notes that almost 30 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. come from the transportation sector.
How bad is it? Scientific American calls the connection between cars (well, transportation in general) and climate change, "intimate and insidious." SA continues:
The picture above shows a road in Tennessee, "after intense rainfall and record-level flooding in May 2010."
In recent years, U.S. transportation infrastructure has taken a beating from extreme weather. Record-level flooding in 2010 and last year washed out roadways in Tennessee, Rhode Island, Iowa and Wisconsin, for instance. And in Vermont, Tropical Storm Irene turned sections of Route 107 into gaping holes.
Intense weather also disrupts and delays mass transit and freight networks, leaving its mark in economic loss.
The solutions, as listed in the TRB report, are legion, and all focus on reducing GHG in one way or another. Read it here in PDF.