Blog: Dave LeggettBanning ‘gas guzzlers’

Dave Leggett | 5 February 2008

Sir Mark Moody-Stuart has at least sparked some debate, I’ll give him that. But his view that high fuel consumption cars should be banned outright is misconceived. And the comparison with smoke-free zones in London simply does not stand up.

The point about smoke-free zones was that they had to be, more or less, absolutist in nature to have any effect. No smoke at all meant, quite simply, no smog.

An outright ban on the use of cars that produce harmful emissions from a few luxury cars, on the other hand, won’t make much difference at all to the overall problem of greenhouse gases and global warming – or even significantly dent the British contribution to the problem. Policy-makers have to look at where the big volume is and take it from there.

If you can afford an Aston Martin and are paying the relevant taxes – either on purchase or in use - that more than cover all negative externalities from owning the thing (perhaps including carbon offsetting with some green stuff planted somewhere on this planet) what is wrong with that?

It’s mass consumption where the root of the problem lies, if we are serious about tackling it and not playing around at the edges or pandering to some of the worse political elements out there that are increasingly using ‘the environment’ as a smokescreen to have a pop at people who have worked hard and attempted to do something with their lives and not just sit around waiting for the State to do everything for them. Blimey, is that a segue into what’s known as a ‘Winton-esque’ rant?

Let’s just have a bit of sensible balance about the scale of the problem faced and the practical solutions that would make a difference, that’s all I ask. We should, of course, encourage people to be more thoughtful about energy consumption and get the outcomes that best meet the goal of preventing planet Earth resembling Dante's Inferno. No rational person would want anything else, but the politicians and media do seem to contrive between them to present glib choices or play to a gallery whose core motivations may be a little suspect.

I wonder which politicans Moody-Stuart hangs out with...

Interesting perspective here from Neil Winton in The Detroit News: Europe CO2 cuts will roil industry, consumers; but not the climate

UK: Former oil industry chief says gas guzzlers should be banned


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