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Interesting conundrum.

1. Yes, rewarding for failure is wrong.
Let's just however point out that rescuing banks was not optional to start with and then that Western Governments have lent money to those failed banks. It's a bet of course, but the tax payer should, hopefully, get some return when they cash in those shares in a few years.
Note that some govermments have been smarter than others (UK, USA) by getting some right-to-say instead of just buying non-preferential shares.

2. The car industry has come a long way, people won't give up individual mobility easily.
While US regulators did not do anything to force their national manufacturers to reform, the story is different in Europe where there's some pressure to reduce emissions. This has resulted in quite some considerable technological advances, but ultimately it's down to economics: when oil will be rare, people will switch to electric because it will be economically viable.
On the other hand, public transportation offerings vary from poor (USA) to excellent (Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark). You can't expect people to switch in a nation like the UK where there's been virtually no investment in rail for the like of 30 years, no high-speed lines between regions, etc...

3. Cash for new cars, it's not about ecology stupid.
It would be carbon-efficient to let every industrial job go on the dole. People would watch their plasma screen but won't have the money to have cars. The whole economy may collapse and some will cheer at the decrease in CO2 emissions. Riots will ensure, and we'll need to develop tear-gas that don't contribute to global warming.


Robin Brown

I don't like the idea of a scrappage scheme, but some sort of incentive-to-buy seems a necessity. Additionally I like Monbiot's willingness to tackle the people at the top, but his selective use of the facts at hand undermines his argument, his argument that a Model T was more efficient that a Ford Focus (or whatever the example was) was just bizarre.

On the other hand I find it a bit hard to listen to the SMMT banging on about how a scrappage scheme is required if we're to hit 2015 CO2 targets a bit hard to listen to.

By the way, the website cleangreencars.com has released some figures showing a scrappage scheme to be beneficial from a low-CO2 point-of-view. Whose figures do you believe?
Average CO2 of a new car in 1998: 188g/km (source SMMT)

Assume a scrappage incentive only for cars that emit under 130 g/km of CO2 (the EU target figure for 2012)

Result: a minimum saving: 58 g/km of CO2 per car

Then assume average mileage of 13,000 km per year (source Department of Transport)

Result: a saving of 754 kg per car per year

Therefore, for every 100,000 extra new cars, there is a CO2 saving of at least 75,400 tonnes of CO2 per year, plus other environmental benefits as new cars have lower emissions of other pollutants.

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