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What would Jesus drive?

By neilb@uk ·
Last night on the UK?s Channel 4 we had a TV documentary that was part of a series covering global warming. This particular hour covered the love of Americans for the car and, in particular, the current craze for "gas-guzzling" SUVs. During the program we had interviews with the committed on both extremes of the SUV-lovers spectrum but very little from those in the middle.

The programme pointed out that In the US, by the end of the 20th century, overall vehicle economy had dropped to its lowest level in 20 years. "Two decades of fuel-saving technologies, that could have helped curb carbon dioxide emissions, have instead gone into increasing vehicle weight and performance".

To my amazement, I learned that the US government waves them on with tax breaks. This is because SUVs are modelled on the frames of commercial vehicles. In other words, as far as the US taxman is concerned, they're really trucks.

They are unsafe ? at least to any car or pedestrian that they crash into. Like an arms race, as more drivers choose heavier and heavier SUVs, those who choose lighter cars are in more danger and, as SUVs are classed as trucks, they don?t have to pass the same safety checks as a normal car. The narrower SUVs roll over four times more easily than a normal car, for instance.

SUVs - 4WD over here - are getting popular here with the middle classes and are starting to cause resentment amongst some groups. London?s Mayor is trying to charge them extra to get into the centre of London (we already pay ?5 per day for driving in the city centre), Paris has declared them ?totally unacceptable? and Rome is to treble the permit rate for SUVs to enter the city. The only reason that we don?t have as many 4WDs as the US is that it costs $90 or more to fill a fuel tank on one.

Eleven percent of world oil consumption is to provide gas for US cars.

I know there are some people who regularly write on this forum who do not believe in Global Warming ? or at least in Man?s contribution to it. However, just in case they are wrong, isn?t there a good case for the US to try and reduce gas consumption as it would have a number of good effects:

Reduce your balance of payments.

Reduce your reliance on Middle East oil.

Reduce carbon emissions ? just in case!

Make the rest of the world like you a little more after Kyoto.

It?s generally believed in the UK that the US, generally, cares very little about the environment and global warming. However, I?m not after a flaming and I?m just asking for some input. Is our perception justified? Was the program right in its conclusion that US gas consumption is spiralling out of control ? possibly taking the Earth?s climate with it?



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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to No one in this discussion ...

What you are saying is that Jesus was a Politician.

Never answered the questions asked went off on a tangent when pressed for an answer and generally left people wondering what had just happened.

That must mean that Tony Blair is the second coming and we should all bow down before him and treat him as God.

At least that way he would be sure of being reelected.


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Not what I said . . .

by A_dangerous_mind In reply to My GOD

No, nothing I said hinted that Jesus was a dodge the issue politician. He turned hostile and loaded questions back on the questioner, and since these questioners were often politicians themselves, they did not take kindly to it. Remember that his crucifixion was a political execution by the authorities of the time. But my main point is that it is illogical to put 'Jesus would be in favor of' in front of something that we think is positive. His actual reaction would probably be much different than we expect.

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Actually I realized that

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Not what I said . . .

But had a politician doing exactly the same thing on TV at the time and couldn't resist the temptation.


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Yes the one

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Some Questionable Facts

That Ferrari is making.


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Eleven percent of world oil consumption. . . . .

by maxwell edison In reply to What would Jesus drive?

You said, "Eleven percent of world oil consumption is to provide gas for US cars."

Okay, I'll take your word on that, however:

The United States produces nearly 20 percent of the world's output of coal, copper, and crude petroleum.

The United States produces 50 percent of the world's corn.

The United States produces 20 percent of the world's beef, pork, mutton, and lamb.

The United States produces more than 10 percent of the world's wheat.

The United States produces about 60 percent of the world's soybeans.

The United States produces about 20 percent of the world's cotton.

The United States produces approximately 75 percent of the world's almonds.

The United States produces approximately 80 percent of the world's pecans.

US firms are at or near the forefront in technological advances, especially in computer technology, medical and aerospace.

I could go on and on and on. But all-in-all, the United States economy produces about 25 percent of the world?s goods and services, but only uses 11 percent of the world's gas. Hey, the U.S. is 14 percent BETTER than the world's average.

If the United States "produces more", it certainly stands to reason the United States might "consume more" of the resources that make such production possible. One should always consider the entire picture when throwing around such statistics.

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Dont forget.....

by Fonken Monken UK In reply to Eleven percent of world o ...

to add to that 'entire picture' some more there.
The United STates also produces vast amounts of pollution to go along with that high production.

One thing the I think said program was getting at, and could be what pains many non-US people is that yes, you produce this vast amount of stuff, but if you're so cutting edge in your approaches, can you not do it without producing so much crap and waste and without polluting water tables etc?

If the US is so cutting edge (I realise as I wrote that that it sounds as if heckles are up - not intended), why is Kyoto not worth it? Surely you can take it in your stride?! Just another challenge to overcome!

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Not so simple

by JamesRL In reply to Dont forget.....

I wouldn't hold up the US as the paragon of low pollution production, but in relative terms when compared to factories in China, Russia, Eastern Europe, they produce much less pollution per unit of output.

And I say that as someone who is downwind from the Ohio Valley coal plants that provide acid rain to my part of Canada. (50% of Smog in Toronto originates south of the border).

Yes, they could do more, but if they had the same kind of coal plants that China does, it would be much much worse.


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Not so simple

by neilb@uk In reply to Not so simple

The Chinese factories are, I suspect, making things that we in the West would consider essential and that they don't have. Perhaps a refrigerator that may prevent some child deaths from food poisoning.

The much "lower polluting" western factory makes mp3 players or X-boxes. I'm not suggesting that there's such a thing as "righteous pollution" but you have to get the big picture.

That will - and is - changing and they'll ramp up their production of the sort of stuff that we have and they really don't need.

I think, however, that the example presented by the West is what is the real problem. Why should the Chinese and Indians cut back on oil consumption and emissions generally if the US doesn't seem to want to lift a finger?

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Don't judge us ALL by our president.

by Jessie In reply to Dont forget.....

Just because Kyoto is "not worth it" to our current administration does not mean that we're all against Kyoto. I think that most Americans (even the Republicans :0) ) if you asked them directly would say that preserving our natural resources is very important to us... Unfortunately, our government is in bed with Big Business and it all comes down to the bottom line. Kyoto is going to be EXPENSIVE and Big Business is only interested in making a buck.

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by Fonken Monken UK In reply to Don't judge us ALL by our ...

How right you are Jessie, I was nearly falling into a 'Governor of California' thing by making such a broad statement ; )

But your right. I guess my point was if your so damn good at producing stuff, why cant you be so damn good at cutting pollution to? Sadly it appears the pollution is at the top and works down...and out...and to the right a bit.

I used the word 'damn' twice in this post - I saw a John Wayne film once and he said 'damn' a lot; I hope my usage helps support what I'm saying, in the way it supported what John Wayne said (on film)!
; )

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