Thursday, January 11, 2007

DaimlerChrysler climbdown

I see that DaimlerChrysler has issued a statement, in response to the BBC news article claiming that their chief economist dismissed the notion of climate change as 'Chicken Little' behaviour. Apparently he just said that other people said that, not that he agreed with it.

I would tend to wonder why, if he didn't agree with what he was saying, he said so much of it (the BBC article quotes quite extensively). But it is in car and oil companies' interests to at least appear in public to be green. The New Scientist points out that companies like BP, who market themselves strenuously on their green credentials, are doing much better than ExxonMobil. And this is especially important when, as the BBC article points out, the US economy is struggling. So the damage limitation people are out in force.

At the same time, there is a petition against the proposal to introduce mileage charges instead of the current flat-rate road tax. This follows the fuel tax protests in 2005. Personally, I would prefer fuel tax to a GPS-based system, simply because the former is so much easier to administer. But either way, the protests are about the increased cost of driving around per se.

I would love the facts about pollution to turn out to be wrong. I would be very happy to continue my current profligate Western lifestyle. But I think that it would be fooling myself to ignore the warnings. It's not a matter of Chicken Little yelling that the sky is falling because an acorn fell on his head. Chicken Little has been pointing out, at length, for several years that the sky is now measurably lower than it was in the past, and although estimates disagree on the rate of descent, they all agree that it will fall further, that we know what is causing the sky to fall, and that the consequences of falling sky are already visible. Since people aren't going to change by themselves, we need legislation, such as higher taxes on fuel. So it's time to go and see the King.

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