Blog: Dave LeggettSmall Picture vs. Big Picture

Dave Leggett | 9 March 2007

One way or another CO2 seems to be in the news a great deal lately. It’s rather a can of worms and there’s an ever-present danger that the media will latch on to things in isolation. It’s not yet a crime to own a relatively thirsty SUV, just as flying on aeroplanes is not yet perceived as a cardinal sin.

The truth is, there’s a bigger picture and that often gets overlooked.

I felt a little bit sorry for Jose Manuel Barroso, the EC’s president, for the hard time he’s getting over driving a Volkswagen Touareg. He wanted that car and surely, that’s a matter of personal choice? Maybe he needs it. Maybe his overall carbon footprint is low. Perhaps he lives in a highly energy efficient home and has been known to ride a bicycle.

Maybe he does other good works too and is a jolly fine citizen who just happens to want to drive a Volkswagen Touareg. Not a hanging offence.

We just don’t know the full picture and do you know what your overall carbon footprint is like compared to everyone else’s? Thought not.

But the uncomfortable fact of the matter is, he’s under the media spotlight and is responsible for the formulation of EU-wide CO2 targets, some of which – like those applying to the auto industry – are controversial.

The attention he gets goes with the territory and there’s just a whiff of ‘do as I say, not as I do’.

He should perhaps take a leaf out of British opposition leader David Cameron’s book. The wily politician is in many respects a mirror image of Tony Blair ten years ago. One thing he has latched on to in a big way is the importance of media ‘presentation’. He is frequently filmed riding his bicycle to work. Bravo, Dave!

But just out of camera his briefcase and packed lunch is following at a discreet distance, in his chauffeur-driven limo (a Lexus hybrid I believe).

UK: So, what's the EC president's drive?


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