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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?

Thanks

Neil

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Wish we were better at both!

by Jessie In reply to

We import a DAMN site more than we export... which doesn't seem at all right considering all the natural resources we hold... but it's cheaper to have our products made overseas and then bring them in... same thing with pollution... it's cheaper (short term) to pollute than it is to clean up our act... what's REALLY stupid is some of the so-called "fines" for pollution... it's STILL cheaper than getting rid of waste legally/ethically. The fine for companies that do illegal dumping is about a quarter of what it costs to take their waste to a land fill!!! What kind of damn sense does THAT make!?!?!?!

I like damn... it's a good word!

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Pollution

by maxwell edison In reply to Dont forget.....

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Among the most polluted cities in the world are Bangkok, Bombay, Calcutta, and Mexico City, none of which are in the USA, and where 68% of the population have pulmonary complaints. In Cracovie, Poland breathing is equivalent to smoking two packets of cigarettes per day. Delhi, Djakarta, Le Caire, Los Angeles, Manille and Mexico are the biggest cities which are the most polluted in the world. (Only one of which in in the USA.)

According to the World Resources Institute, nine out of the ten most polluted cities in the world, in fact, are reported to be in China (the other is in India). Soot caused by coal combustion, a highly pollutive method of producing energy, is a major cause of this pollution. China is the second largest energy consumer in the world, after the United States, but only 20% of the population is hooked up to the electrical grid, and they are a much worse pollutor. Reportedly, only about 30 percent or less of the 27 billion metric tons of waste water discharged in China each year is treated in some fashion and air pollution exceeds environmental standards by hundreds of percent. The central city of Lanzhou, for example, a hub of petro-chemical and machine production, is recognized as one of the planet's most polluted cities with the least breathable air in the world.

Kyoto is grossly unfair to the USA, while it exempts much worse offenders.

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They can't afford oil

by neilb@uk In reply to Pollution

while you burn it up at 15 miles per gallon and that's why they use coal. They are where we were a hundred years ago. We were pretty bad then.

Oil should not just be burnt. It's far too crucial in load s of other industries.

Anyway, whatever the other countries do has nothing to do with this argument. Catalytic converters and the industrial equivalents remove all the really nasties in the West but it's not pollution that is going to kill us - it's carbon dioxide. Unfortunately - judging from a post I read in another thread - you don't believe that, do you?

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To answer your questions

by maxwell edison In reply to They can't afford oil

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Yes, they can indeed "afford" oil. In fact, China is leading the way in oil consumption, and their growth in oil imports has been greater than any other nation by huge margins. And no, they aren't where we were 100 years ago. We now have technologies where coal can be used in a cleaner manner. We now have nuclear power capability, where none existed 100 years ago. France, in fact, gets 80-90 percent of its power from nuclear sources. And China has no excuse for releasing 70 percent of its waste water without treatment. That technology is indeed available where it wasn't 100 years ago.

And no, I suppose you don't want to talk about other countries. That wouldn't allow you to continue on your "bash the USA" tirade.

And no, I do not believe that "global warming" (if the globe is actually warming) is caused by humans. And I have some pretty good company. In fact, if you were to research the opinion of all of the world's "scientists", you would find that 83 percent of them do not believe that human activities are causing global warming, while only 17 percent do. And then you might consider how much money that 17 percent is getting from various government agencies to "study" the "problem".

But you do think, by your own admission, that "carbon dioxide......is going to kill us."

Now what was that we were saying about "nuts"?

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Actually Neil

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to They can't afford oil

The main byproduct of combustion with the new unleaded fuels is H2SO2 Hydrogen Sulfur Di-Oxide and it is greater in cars with catalytic converters.

I remember a Porsche which was sent to the USA which exceeded the proposed 1996 CA emission laws which every US Auto maker claimed was impossible to do. SO the Powers that Be sent it on a tour around the US until someone realized that it didn't have a catalytic converter fitted.

It just goes to show if you design something properly in the first place you do not need all the added junk which is the accepted manner of making emissions less by some of the big Auto Makers. After all it is a lot cheaper for them to tack on another bit which they can make money on as a spare part rather than to do a complete redesign and retool.

Col

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Max the one in India

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Pollution

Was it the City that had the EverReady company making products there that where far too expensive to make safely in the US?

Col

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I don't disagree with your figures

by neilb@uk In reply to Eleven percent of world o ...

because I just don't know - yet.

This wasn't intended as a US-bashing exercise but you do react so vigorously to inferred criticism!

However, taking your population into account and, if your figures about oil production are true then why the **** are you a huge net oil importer?

You don't produce *that* much for export else your Deficit wouldn't be so high!

As for the data on pecans and almonds - your nuts!

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Look them up

by maxwell edison In reply to I don't disagree with you ...

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All of my figures are accurate. Even the nutty ones.

And our deficit is so high, not because of the producers of this country, but because of the non-producers. Over 60 percent of every dollar the US government spends, is a dollar taken from a producer of something and given to a non-producer. Moreover, production in the USA is not controlled by the government, per se, but rather by private enterprise. And the deficit spending of the federal government is not related to the national GDP -- the total output of our production.

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It was a PUN

by neilb@uk In reply to Look them up
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This wasn't intended as a US-bashing exercise ?????

by maxwell edison In reply to I don't disagree with you ...

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But then you go on to bash the U.S.

Go figure.

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