Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

Who wants cleaner cars in the EU then?

with 5 comments

With apologies for the delay, here is the latest email received from Greenpeace:

VW has now turned away from the Dark Side

—————

Hi Martin,

Right now, we have a huge chance to help save the Arctic.

To tackle the threats posed by the disappearing ice and the invasion of oil drillers – like Shell – we need to reduce the world’s thirst for oil. We can do that by making greener cars. And the good news is we’ve already begun.

Politicians are right now deciding the rules for the next generation of European cars. Let’s demand tough laws to make them greener. [i.e. the deadline is tomorrow]

We know this can be done. When we first asked VW to make their cars cleaner and more efficient, they said it wasn’t possible. Then 526,000 of us piled pressure on VW and helped persuade the biggest and most powerful car company in Europe that clean technology is possible. That’s something we can be proud of. Now it’s time to move the whole of Europe (and the world) forward.

Push your European representatives on strong targets for cleaner cars and help reduce the world’s thirst for oil.

This isn’t just about our continent. If we make these big wins here, the global car market will feel the pressure to keep up with innovation in Europe. That means we could see less polluting cars in countries like China and the US too. That’s better for the Arctic, the air we breathe and the stability of our global climate.

Over the next few months European politicians are making decisions that will affect every new car in Europe – this is a huge opportunity – so let’s make sure we send the strongest possible message. We know that these politicians aren’t used to getting thousands of messages from people like us, so this could really have an impact.

Together we can show the world what can be done,

Nic and all the Greenpeace crew

PS Of course, not everyone drives – I don’t – and your bicycle is the most efficient vehicle you can use. But cars are a big part of society today, so please help make cars cleaner in Europe (and the world).

PPS You may have heard about the No Dash For Gas heroes who shut down a polluting gas power station last year and were being sued by owners EDF for £5m in an attempt to stifle peaceful protest. This week, we heard the amazing news is that, after nearly 65,000 people signed a petition, EDF have backed down! The activists still face criminal charges and you can get the latest updates on their website.

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5 Responses

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  1. I don’t believe this talk about a “cleaner” future with environmentally friendly cars.I believe that the “Jeveson Principle” comes into play here.I hope I have got the name of the founder of the principle correct!When things become cheaper usage does not stay constant but increases.Greener and cheaper cars will simply mean more of the same and pollution will increase.We have to face it that we,as a species,are addicted to electricity and motion.And this addiction will continue until all resources are consumed.The population is now 7 milliards and counting.If all are to achieve that highly desirable western standard of living then neither Greenpeace with Ecocars or any other organisation will be able to hold off the fateful day.We seem, despite our much vaunted intelligence,hell-bent on destruction;unable to live at peace with ourselves or our neighbours despite emotive rhetoric on Sundays,Fridays or whatever..Call me a pessimist if you will;I see little hope and certainly no light at the end of our very narrow tunnel!

    Duncan

    19 March 2013 at 09:20

    • I have to say that I agree. The cheaper something is, the more we waste it. Water, food, oil, energy. Having said that, any attempt at making cars “cleaner” is to be commended. I wish North America had as strict of standards and as many choices of small models and small engines as Europe. Looking at VW, the smallest model you can buy here is the Golf (UK has two smaller models) and the smallest engine you can buy here is a 2.0L (which is the BIGGEST engine you can buy for a Golf in the UK.)

      jpgreenword

      19 March 2013 at 14:29

      • Thanks for those very revealing statistics, JP. Although they clearly have some catching up to do, the USA and Canada are making some progress on engine size and engine efficiency. Raising the price of the fuel (or the product made using it) would force people on to the streets to protest in the short-term but, in the longer-term, it would also force them to change their behaviour and the things they buy. I think the fossil fuel producers know this, which is why they are spending so much money trying to prevent Hansen’s Fee and Dividend idea gaining traction.

        Martin Lack

        20 March 2013 at 10:39

        • Yeah, we pay about half as much for gasoline as you folks do in the UK. The fee-and-dividend would be a great way to increase the price without harming people at the lower end of the pay scale.
          Too bad we don’t even seem to be openly discussing it in many countries.

          jpgreenword

          20 March 2013 at 13:38

    • Thanks Duncan. You are quite right to allude to Jevons’ Paradox, as indeed I have done in the past: Increased efficiency in the manufacturing process of any product will always be exceeded by a consequential increase in demand for the product; leading to accelerating rates of resource consumption. Thus, all Jevons did was translate into an industrial context the assertion of one Rev. Thomas Malthus regarding population – that the ability of humans to produce food would be exceeded by the number of people needing to be fed. In both cases, technological optimists continue to insist that both men were merely pessimists or lacking in imagination. I think we shall soon find out who is wrong.

      Martin Lack

      20 March 2013 at 10:31


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