Seattle lawyer Matthew Metz sat in his office Friday morning, clicking through hundreds of online comments indirectly calling him, or his ideas, loony, “moonbatty” and commie-style meddling in the American way.

“I’d say the reaction is about 99.9 percent negative,” he said cheerfully. “But people will get over it.”


Metz, 51, is a high-end tort lawyer with an office on the 71st floor of Seattle’s Columbia Center. He’s racked up enough contingency fees, including from a recent $12 million judgment in a Canadian embezzlement case, that he decided he could ease out of lawyering and go all-in on a little side project.


He jumped on the idea of phasing out combustion-engine cars because countries like England, India and China have been contemplating it. Then this summer, Volvo announced it was going to “end the solely combustion-engine-powered car” by 2019. Some Volvos will be hybrids, while others will be all-electric.

“I realized the technology is already there — it’s already happening,” Metz said. “So why aren’t we embracing it? It seemed like we maybe needed a nudge.”


But think of other issues where the initial gut reaction was: “That’s crazy!” Gays getting married. Corner pot stores. Fifteen-dollar-an-hour minimum wage. All were seen as politically impossible, even ludicrous. Until suddenly they weren’t.

“I embrace that quote that we overestimate what we can accomplish in a year, but we underestimate what we can do in 10,” Metz said.

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