back to article When poor people pollute - the Tata Nano and eco-crime

It's small, it's cheap, it's low emission so... the arrival of the Tata Nano, India's new 'people's car', has been greeted by a wailing and a gnashing of the teeth from the environmental aristocracy. The prospect of millions of the global peasantry driving, emitting and pushing up 'our' gas prices is a nightmare. It promises to …

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  1. anarchic-teapot
    Flame

    like fucking for virginity

    Ummm... how can I put this? Unless what are coyly referred to as "precautions" are taken then, yes, fucking *will* produce virgins. Nine months later, give or take a few days.

    I'd be interested to learn how globalisation, which appears to inevitably produce vast amounts of carbon-fuel-based transport over large distances, reduces future golbal warming. I'm not calling the statement into doubt, but it would be useful to know more. Giz an extra page of information, it's not as if it's Friday morning and you need to knock off quick to go down the pub.

  2. Darren B

    I whonder what they say about

    Good old american gas guzzling engineering then?

    How many Nano's = 1 Hummer?

    I think we should have some Enviro Top Trumps.

  3. REMF

    excellent article

    many thanks.

  4. Alastair Raith
    Paris Hilton

    It is only a replacement vehicle

    Lets face it, most of these Tatas are going to be snapped up by India's 'yuppie' families, they are replacing low-tech two stroke scooters and motorbikes with a modern (catalysed?) car. At a local level it may reduce pollution and it isnt a step change in the usage of petrol driven vehicles. It's not like millions people will suddenly appear out of nowhere clutching a wadge of cash to buy them is it?

    Paris - for being an eejit to think that the new Tata owners dont already have some other form of transport.

  5. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Biggest problem about the Nano

    Is that it is going to increase Indian oil imports, with China's own burgeoning car population hot on its heels. These two new oil-hungry economies are going to force the price of a barrel ever higher. Painful for us in the West, potentially disastrous for African countries dependent on oil imports and the very poor in these emerging economies.

  6. Edwin
    Flame

    Tip for Daniel and Judi

    Want to make a difference to the environment?

    Drive a Tata Nano

    (bet there's at LEAST one SUV between them)

    Geez...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    There's that Elephant again

    This guys seems to think economic growth is a bigger threat that population growth. Incorrect: remove population growth, and watch the economic growth slow to more sustainable levels. The economy grows to meet the demands of its's consumers, not the other way round.

    Said it before, I'll say it again: Control the population numbers (and if any place in the world needs it, it's India), and everything else will follow.

    Who gets the lethal injection though, is the trickier question.

  8. breakfast

    Value vs consumption

    How does making a microchip out of silicon consume no more resources than making sandpaper out of it? That doesn't make sense to me at all.

    It may consume the same amount of sand, but is that actually the only resource used to produce microchips and sandpaper? I would have thought it took a lot more energy, complex chemistry and resource-intensive machinery to produce the microchip and a bit of paper and some glue to make sandpaper.

    I am not an economist by any means so the intuitive criticism that economics appears to depend on a constant increase in resource consumption looks logical to me but I would love to understand why it doesn't work like that.

  9. Risky
    Flame

    Poor People

    It seems the eco-aristocracy finds poor people most inconvenient. Apparently it's OK to fly off to some eco-tourist destination (with a carbon offset contribution) but cheap Ryanair flights for the masses (surely emitting far less carbon per head) are the great evil.

    Likewsie they get to drive their Lexus hybrid, but got forbid that some Indians get about their staion and think they should be allowed a basic car.

    I request a "Hot Air" Icon for flagging eco-bollocks.

  10. Gareth

    Globalization is just transport?

    And here I was thinking globalization was more than just shuffling physical items around the world in petrol-powered boxes.

    The amount of 'trade' which occurs purely electronically is growing exponentially whilst the amount which involves physical items being transferred isn't growing all that much in terms of transaction volumes, just the distance that items are being transported.

    So eventually the physical trade will level off and the continued increase in trade will be electronic - perhaps even replacing some of the physical item trade.

    Interesting article which highlights the deeply conservative nature of some of the green movement (which is a very worthy cause which seems to be getting polluted with some very dodgy statistics lately)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I think the Tata Nano is a good idea

    Apparently the boss of Tata said he launched the Nano because he didn't see why ordinary Indian families should go round precariously balancing babies, mothers-in-law, chickens etc. on mopeds.

    I think he's probably also interested in making some money, but nevertheless I was scared shitless by the traffic when I was in Delhi, so it's nice to know that it's not just my effete Western sensibilities that are concerned about it.

    I can't pretend to know about the climate issues involved (who can?) but to me it seems like one more step towards a better standard of living - along with roads, sanitation, health care, education and all the other things you aspire to when you haven't got them.

    Let's be fair, no-one is going to build a network of windmill-powered maglevs around India any time soon, so the Nano isn't such a bad replacement for all those old mopeds and Hindustan Ambassadors.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Value vs comsumption

    "I am not an economist by any means so the intuitive criticism that economics appears to depend on a constant increase in resource consumption looks logical to me but I would love to understand why it doesn't work like that."

    Same here.

    As I always understood it, even Adam Smith saw increased production as one of the most important gains to be made from increased efficiency, no less so than the lower unit cost.

    Re:There's that Elephant again

    (@Anonymous Coward)

    "Who gets the lethal injection though, is the trickier question."

    Anonymous cowa<NO CARRIER>

  13. Geoff Mackenzie

    I want a Nano!

    If only they did a little diesel one I could convert to SVO. That would be awesome. Although that thing's dinky little wheels wouldn't stand up to Glasgow's roads too well I suspect.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Anonymous coward (15:18), re:population growth

    You may think it's a good idea to reduce population growth, but hasn't it occurred to you that the next generation will be raised by the people who disagree with you?

    The future belongs to those who show up for it.

  15. Pete Silver badge

    @elephant

    So far as economic growth goes, you have to face up to the point that the overwhelming majority of the world's population is so far below our living standard that the planet cannot support everyone having central heating, a car, TV, nice furniture and all the other trappings of contemporary western life.

    Hell, one third of the world's population doesn't have *any* electricity at all. When the sun goes down, their lives just stop. So even getting them up to "poverty" level would take a huge amount of CO2 emission. Keeping them there, even more.

    Ask yourself this: (c'mon everyone, you can all take part) which is better, to keep the climate as it is now, or to stop 2 billion people from dying early? Hint: you can't have both, unless their carbon emissions come directly from you

  16. JeffyPooh

    Most Tata Nanos will replace something much worse

    I've not been to India, but if it is anything like the Philippines, then the roads will already be completely full of smoke-belching home-made rubbish. Mobile contraptions made from welded-up rebar, powered by clapped-out lawnmower engines trailing heaps and lumps of thick smoke. Jeepneys powered by long-expired diesel engines junked in other countries. It's so bad that the local police work very hard to take the 'smoke belchers' off the road.

    So, please don't think of the Nano in terms of millions of people that have been staying home for the past ten thousand years (huh?) suddenly being given cars. That doesn't even make sense. Think of it terms of 'modernizing the fleet' (which is a VERY good thing). The road network (already full) will set hard limits on how many added vehicles are feasible.

  17. Tim Worstal

    Some more

    A few answers:

    "globalisation, which appears to inevitably produce vast amounts of carbon-fuel-based transport over large distances, reduces future golbal warming."

    What we're interested in is total emissions, not just emissions from transport. Growing tomatoes in the sun in Spain and shipping them to the UK will have lower emissions that growing tomatoes in a hothouse in the UK. Raising lamb in New Zealand and shipping it to the UK has lower emissions than raising same in heated sheds in Northumberland. Both of those have recently been shown to be true BTW.

    Of course, the very reason we have trade at all is because we use fewer resources that way: we measure the use of resources by how much something costs and none of us buys something which we can do ourselves more cheaply. With CO2 that isn't included in the price structure, which is where all hte problems are coming from.

    "force the price of a barrel ever higher." Excellent, so we'll all use less, isn't that a good thing.

    "Control the population numbers (and if any place in the world needs it, it's India), and everything else will follow.

    Who gets the lethal injection though, is the trickier question."

    No lethal injections needed. Birth rates go down as people get richer. Happened everywhere people have indeed got rich so far.

    "I am not an economist by any means so the intuitive criticism that economics appears to depend on a constant increase in resource consumption looks logical to me but I would love to understand why it doesn't work like that."

    Yes, more resources go into both than just the sand. It's an example of a point, that's all. GDP is the measure we use of economic growth. But it isn't a measure of the resources used. It's actually a measure of the value added in an economy.

    To be formally accurate, it is possible that a growing economy will use more resources. But it is not necessary that a growing economy use more resources. An economy can grow by using the same resources more efficiently: we even have a word for that, productivity.

  18. Kurt Guntheroth

    resource consumption

    Production of value doesn't have to consume resources in proportion to the value produced. Karl Marx made this mistake in the 19th century. Software is the canonical example of a good that adds value way out of proportion to the cost of the resources put in. Sometimes value comes simply from specialization.

    I am continuously amazed by the moral flexibility of the developed world, particularly the US, who whine about ecological catastrophes in the third world. Deforestation? Bad Thing. We know. We logged 98% of the forest in the US, and it's a bummer. Fossil fuels? Don't use 'em. We burned oil for 100 years and look what it did to the climate! Overfishing? Bad thing. Blah Blah Blah. Do what we say, not what we did. Yeah, it'll suck for your economy, but the alternative is us giving up our air conditioners and SUVs.

    Biggest problem about the nano? It could probably be electric, but it isn't. Electric cars are harder to do, but the guys who figure it out are going to be richer than Exxon.

  19. dan russell
    Pirate

    Elephant watch

    Yep, that's the trouble with those pesky Malthusians, a sore lack of folk willing to be malthusised or to allow their kids or future kids to be malthusised.

    Perhaps the proponents of this wonderful theory could set an example by volunteering to be first or maybe start arguing for another considerably more modest proposal

  20. Anton Ivanov
    Flame

    I somehow do not see the Nano getting even picoMaintenance

    All these reports and assumptions are based on wrong figures.

    The right question here is what will it pollute after 3 years in the hands of a 3rd world village mechanic.

    I have observed that with the early crop of of German second hand imports into Bulgaria and Romania 10-15 years ago. None of them got any maintenance (oil change once every 3 years, no filter changes, no antifreeze changes, etc) so by around 2001-2001 you could clearly see them on motorway from miles away. Raising columns of acrid smoke, burning as much oil as fuel. All emission control bypassed or hacked (catalysts ripped out along with lambda sensors). It looked like "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome".

    3-5 years off the factory line and the Nano will not be any different from these horrid monstrousities.

  21. Pyros
    Coat

    RE: Lethal Injections

    "No lethal injections needed. Birth rates go down as people get richer. Happened everywhere people have indeed got rich so far."

    In otherwords, the happier you are the less likely you need to do the rumpy-pumpy.

    Strange that happieness comes from having enough money to put food on the table, a decent roof over your heads, and the occasional vacation.

    (Mind you, a little eugenics *could* be used down here in the SE USA... goddess knows we could use a thinning of the redneck/trailer trash population.)

    if (coat == TRUE) { exit; }

  22. Mark

    @breakfast

    For someone who has "environmental aristocracy" in their first few lines, do you really expect them to think of anything that may make this a bad idea?

  23. Hans Mustermann
    Flame

    @Kurt Guntheroth

    "Yeah, it'll suck for your economy, but the alternative is us giving up our air conditioners and SUVs."

    You know, you might be onto something there.

    I wonder how much of that outcry is based on: If those poor people start actually using gazillions of cars, then they'll actually use their carbon credits, and we can't pretend to be oh-so-green and oh-so-morally-superior for buying their carbon credits for peanuts.

    Also, how much of it is really just shock at the fact that they're getting an industry of their own.

    Thing is, it seems to me we've not been getting upset when they buy western world cars. I know that a lot of the car manufacturers here are trying hard to sell cars to the Chinese and Indians and whatnot. And noone is outraged at that.

    I mean, think about it. Cars producing CO2, is cars producing CO2, is cars producing CO2. Whether it's a new Tata or a rusty third-hand 1945 Volkswagen Bettle, it still produces CO2. (In fact, as many pointed out, the Tata might actually produce less.) But while we're busy getting outraged at the former, we find the latter perfectly ok. It's _ok_ for them to pollute the planet, as long as they buy shit from us to pollute with. It's an outrage and an eco catastrophe only when they start producing their own shit, with their own companies, not owned by the west. _Then_ it's an outrage.

    Just an unpleasant thought. And it's the kind of thought that makes me fundamentally disgusted at half the save-the-planet zealots.

  24. Charles
    Flame

    ecconomics is not easy as much is counter to intuition

    1) Yes, the nano will probaly emit less than the vehicle it replaces.

    2) the price of fuel going up and the limits of infrastucture will limit the number of users.

    3) expectations from units like the Namo will encourage investments in alternative transit.

    4) Shipping stuff by Sea is actually less expensive and therefor likely polutes less than shipping by road, Higher prices fuel will encourage surface shipment as the cost to ship by air becomes a higher percentage of the value of the goods.

    5) As folks get more civilised the Birth rate goes way down. This is why Canada is wringing its hands about the dependancy ratio. (How many workers are going to be around to pay my pension) India and china will reduce their population growth as they get richer.

    6) technology will offer alternatives like Wind, solar and tidal power which will become more attractive as costs decline and fosil fuels become more expensive.

    7) more expensive fuel will make cars like the nao more accetible in what is currently the first world,starting in Europew where the fuel price is already higher than here in North America.

  25. Vikram Sethi
    Thumb Down

    Unwashed?

    "all of them predict that the great unwashed will indeed have transport"

    You'd better have meant this in a sarcastic sense. If not, I find it very offensive.

  26. Tim Worstal

    Even More

    Vikram: yes, sarcasm.

    "Hell, one third of the world's population doesn't have *any* electricity at all. When the sun goes down, their lives just stop. So even getting them up to "poverty" level would take a huge amount of CO2 emission. Keeping them there, even more."

    Quite, which is why the link to the SRES in the piece. Try reading the basic assumptions of the A1 family. in 2100 the average human being will live like the average American did in 2000. That's their *starting* point, the one that leads to the very estimates of global warming that the IPCC tells us about (more technically, to the higher end ones if we don't do something about it, like reduce carbon use).

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    The Great Unwashed

    Chill out Vikram. From the urban dictionary:

    "Coined by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, "the great unwashed" refers to the lower classes."

    It's an old English idiom referring to *all* peasantry and I imagine the author was referring to the class bigotry evident in some of the more strident climate change arguments (against things like the Nano).

  28. J
    Pirate

    Yep...

    The poor will get richer, someday. There's not enough planet for everybody to be comfortable, let alone US levels comfy, sad but true. Those will be interesting times.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    for large values of 2 : 2+2=5

    50 mpg(us) = 4,7l/100km 4,7lpetrol/100km * 2,3kg co2/lpetrol = 10,81kgco2/100km = 108g/km

    50 mpg(imp) =5,64l/100km 5,61lpetrol/100km * 2,3kg co2/lpetrol = 12,9kgco2/100km = 129g/km

    I would not rely on Tatas figures for co2 emissions. A catalyst will only rectify problems concerning incomplete combustion. It cannot reduce emissions of co2. Most likely the PR department mislaid the "1" before the "30g/km"...

    "At that emission rate, doing 20,000 km a year each car will produce 600 kg of CO2: one hundred million of them on the roads would be less than 1 per cent of current emissions of over 6 Gtonnes. No, not substantial then. "

    Mutiply by four... Still not worried?

  30. Fraggle
    Black Helicopters

    Politics dressed as counter-politics

    "You may think it's a good idea to reduce population growth, but hasn't it occurred to you that the next generation will be raised by the people who disagree with you?"

    Hence the movement's intense need for getting government control *now*. As has been demonstrated by Charles, the concern is mostly about who has control. Someone's gonna die, they say, we'd better make sure it's not us.

    What the eco movement essentially claims is that human beings generally are too stupid to be in charge of their own lives, therefore 'us greater luminaries' must do their decision-making for them. While I'm sure people could find evidence to support that position, I can't help but think that when people believe that, they almost always end up being the stupidest out of all of us!

    "The future belongs to those who show up for it."

    That's going in my quotebook!

  31. Craig Taylor

    Increased oil prices?

    More demand for oil causes the price of oil to increase. Increasing oil prices inevitably lower the demand for oil. Always.

    Either oil use efficiency will increase or an alternative fuel (energy source) will be developed. Where is the problem? Aren't we trying to reduce the use of oil as an energy source? Even if the USA moves to coal derived liquid fuels, it still reduces the energy needed to transport the energy from distant lands.

    I fail to see the problem. Although, there will be an increase in transport fuel costs in the near term.

    Craig

  32. Bruno Girin
    Go

    Roads and mechanics

    @Geoff Mackenzie

    It's meant for Indian roads so surely it should negotiate Glaswegian roads fine. Unless Glasgow's roads have degenerated to larger potholes than Delhi since last time I visited either?

    @Anton Ivanov

    Second hand German imports to Bulgaria and Romania probably had those problems because the Bulgarian and Romanian mechanics didn't have the equipment and knowledge to deal with new German cars full of electronics and suchlike. I suspect lower tech cars had no such problems. The Tata Nano is an Indian car for the Indian market so the technology is presumably adapted to the abilities and equipment normally available to Indian mechanics. This is exactly why, if you ever go to 3rd world countries, you will see a lot of old cars in perfect working order: they are low tech and can be repared locally with locally sourced spares.

  33. Adam Williamson

    @Kurt

    "I am continuously amazed by the moral flexibility of the developed world, particularly the US, who whine about ecological catastrophes in the third world. Deforestation? Bad Thing. We know. We logged 98% of the forest in the US, and it's a bummer. Fossil fuels? Don't use 'em. We burned oil for 100 years and look what it did to the climate! Overfishing? Bad thing. Blah Blah Blah. Do what we say, not what we did. Yeah, it'll suck for your economy, but the alternative is us giving up our air conditioners and SUVs."

    Well that's one way of looking at it; the other is 'learning from history'. When every country that has so far deforested itself to death is regretting it, and every 'developed' country that still has substantial forest cover is devoting substantial resources to keeping it, that might be a good hint that those countries fortunate enough still to have lots of trees should probably make some effort to hang onto them. Of course, there is always an odd silence on the best way to do this (kick out the multinationals who ultimately profit from the deforestation and slap a big tariff on the resulting exports) as it doesn't fit in with our economic ideals.

    (A fairly common trope in science fiction is for wood, in the future, to be a really, really expensive luxury item due to its scarcity...)

    But yes, it rather depends on tone. I don't have much time for the SUV drivers bemoaning Nano emissions, but I do think India could do with some strong government which might question this development direction. You'd think the current state of America would give some governments of rapidly developing economies some pause for thought about e.g. modern mass transit infrastructure, but it appears they're just going the way of all past governments in the same situation (spend all your money on big guns and let the rest rot). Someone above says the capacity of the road infrastructure will limit the amount of these cars it's practical to sell, but of course what will happen is you'll get a big bloc of new car owners pushing the government to build more roads, they'll do so, and before you know it half of India will look like your average U.S. suburban area; gigantic sprawling low-density development, not a bus or train in sight.

    Well, doesn't that sound like a fun prospect. :\

    Yes, there's an element of hypocrisy to it, but there's also a genuine hope that maybe the rest of the world can avoid the mistakes we made and wind up with much more livable environments, but alas, it doesn't seem to be happening.

  34. theotherone
    Stop

    so...

    so it's ok that the west has been spewing shitloads of all kinds of noxious stuff into the atmosphere for over a hundred years, but when 3rd world countries finally get a chance to develop, you read them the riot act...bloody hypocrites...

  35. Hans Mustermann
    Go

    Re: for large values of 2 : 2+2=5

    "Mutiply by four... Still not worried?"

    Still not worried.

    Last I've heard, all human activities combined accounted for something like 2% of the total greenhouse effect. (Water vapour is a mild greenhouse gas too, btw. And methane is farted by wild herbivores too. Etc.)

    We may argue that those 2% are still a lot. After all, a global warming of 1C is about 0.3% increase in absolute temperature. So maybe that 2% increase is causing it after all.

    But still, we're not the lion's share.

    So now you're telling me that the Tatas will, umm, account for a shocking total of 4% out of 2% of the greenhouse effect. Sorry mate, I fail to be scared there.

    To put it even more in perspective, it becomes a lot less when you look at the carbon output projections for a decade or so into the future. They won't have 100,000,000 Tatas up and running over night. So we're looking at that in the context of an alread predicted increase, as the article pointed out. We've already factored in that it will increase. And that figure, even multiplied by 4, is just an even tinier part of the predicted increase.

    But, before all, because I still find it repulsive to say that 2-3 billion people (including China, etc) should stay poor and be deprived of cars, just so we can continue to drive sports cars and SUVs. I'll join in the chorus that India should limit its number of cars, when the western world does the same about its own cars. If it does, then fair is fair. But in the meantime, essentially, "someone should stay poor and have a hard life, so I can enjoy more luxuries" is an abominable moral position any way you want to slice it.

    The "saving the planet" angle is facetious and disingenuous, when it's only _them_ who have to do sacrifices for it. It's like saying that you should take the bus, so I can drive my own car faster to work. Strapping some lame excuses and appeals to emotion to the argument, only makes it lamer. At the end of the day it still remains, "you should have it worse, so I can have it better."

    Strapping a "but it's to save us all" excuse onto it, only really works if we're all in it together. If you should do the effort, and all _I_ have to do is look morally superior, then that doesn't make it a common cause or effort. It just makes me an ar*ehole.

  36. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton

    Gordon Gecko

    Greed is good !

  37. N
    Thumb Down

    Everyone Own a Car? Sure, find your own planet!

    The industrial revolution has been over for quite some time.

    Combustion was a product of the industrial revolution.

    It's time to find a new fuel, a new method, and get over the "self" and ownership models.

  38. Mark

    @Hans

    Last you BOTHERED to read about.

    What's the temperature the earth should be if there was no GHG? about 50 degrees cooler (I think, but if you can't check either, we'll go with that).

    2%of that is 1 degree. Again, I believe this is low, but if you contest 50deg, check the 2%, yeah.

    And our fuel consumption is increasing while the ability of the system to absorb CO2 is erducing (plants need water, CO2, nirtogen, potassium, etc, so increasing CO2 without increasing the rest isn't going to help much).

    And, since this is an artificial increase, there's no going down, so it will be 2 degrees.

    But how much bigger will the desserts become at that? How much smaller the ice caps? How much more wind energy will be there, how much more rain (and how many more hurricanes)?

    Oh, and higher temps, more water vapour (higher water vapour pressure possible) and the more water contributes, which means more water....

    We have produced more than half the changes in temperatures. This is worked out because models that predict past weather from a starting point in the further past progress to a climatology that does mirror what the records say. A lot of frigs and so on, but if they work when taking a 150-year old weather report and running the model for the next 50 years THEN checking against the records for those 50 years works, there's no real need to change the frig factors for the last 50 year's climate when taking the 50-year-old weather report and running those exact same models.

    Now when the last 50 years only match when you add in the human created factors and cannot by any means be made to fit without them, you know that the human factors are needed.

    So we are only able to explain what HAPPENED when we include what we did.

    To deny that is to deny science any ability to predict. We can't SEE atoms, we don't KNOW what elecrons are, nor why they seem to occupy "shells". We have mathematical models with fiddled constants that produce the right answers, though. And with those models, we predicted how to make lasers. How to make red LED lasers and how to create blue ones (so now we have white LEDs).

    Not because we KNOW what an electron does in a semiconductor but that our best model description seems to work in helping us predict what to change to get the answer we're looking for.

  39. Morely Dotes

    @ Tim

    "No lethal injections needed. Birth rates go down as people get richer. Happened everywhere people have indeed got rich so far."

    As a rule, poor nations are agrarian, and have a high infant mortality rate. As a consequence, the birth rate is higher to (1) compensate for the high infant mortality rate, and (2) increase the available number of "free" fieldhands helping Dad (and often Mom, too) on the property.

    Overcompensation is the rule, leading to overpopulation. Want these people to stop having a dozen kids per couple? Make them "rich" by their standards (or "poverty level" by Western standards) and they won't see the need for 12 kids.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Population increases

    "Hell, one third of the world's population doesn't have *any* electricity at all. When the sun goes down, their lives just stop. So even getting them up to "poverty" level would take a huge amount of CO2 emission. Keeping them there, even more."

    I'm sure that they find something to do after dark.

    In fact providing an alternative to it might just help to keep the global population down...

  41. Red Bren
    Flame

    Will the Tata replace more polluting vehicles?

    The Tata may well be "only a replacement vehicle" for the yuppie family that buys it but what happens to the vehicle it replaced? Isn't the second-hand market going to be flooded with low tech vehicles that will be snapped up by the next social strata? And so the cycle repeats while everyone tries to upgrade? Net result - more pollution.

    We can hardly blame the people in developing countries for wanting to lead our decadent western lifestyle but there isn't enough resources to support it. So what do we do? Tell them to get stuffed or find an equitable solution?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not the big problem.

    1 in 7 barrels of oil extracted worldwide are burned on America's roads

    If cars in the US were on average as fuel efficient as cars in Europe, the US would save the amount of oil output by Iran each year.

    So if you want to reduce global emissions, you know where to start.

    (sources: Alan Greenspan for the first, the German minister for Europe for the second - forget his name).

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    The Homeless

    Those Tata nanos will make great homes for some people, even if the roads are grid locked.

  44. Ole Juul

    Growth?

    From the article: "growth is not defined by nor is it dependent upon the consumption of resources. It's defined as the addition of value to them"

    I would agree with that, but feel a need to point out that you need resources either way. Our current penchant for little, low resource, short lived, disposible, electronic devices is just covering up the reality... like selling candy floss at the fair. You pay 2 dollars for 2 cents worth of sugar. Big deal. Now you're better off and the other guy isn't. That's economics... but not growth.

    Here in Canada we have a huge amout of very poor people, many live in the street. The US also has a high poverty level. I've seen kids with rickets there! My point is that our current "economic growth" is a sham. Anything with any real value such as soil, water, or metals, is getting either rare, or unaffordable by most people. We are NOT growing.

    When I was young, people were called homeless if they didn't have a house. Then it was if you didn't have an apartment. Now it's if you live on the street. We're going backwards and the reason is that we don't have enough resourses for all of us to live "the good life". Making little plastic gadgets and selling them isn't going to help. An ipod has little "value". Give us land and water, that's what we all need. Not enough to go around? Well there you are then.

  45. Grant Alexander
    Alert

    The economicas of climate change

    "Of course, the very reason we have trade at all is because we use fewer resources that way: we measure the use of resources by how much something costs and none of us buys something which we can do ourselves more cheaply."

    Not necessarily a correct assumption. Personal example - I recently paid tradesmen to paint my house. The cost was probably 10 times the amount it would have cost me to do the job myself. So why did I make an economically irrational decision? Because purchase decisions are not always economically rational. People factor in other values, such as the value of time with the family, the benefit of not tying up many, many weekends in doing the job myself.

    Similarly people do not make rational or fully informed decisions in the realm of the environment. I predict the net result of the choice of the 'holier than thou' westerners who want to 'save the globe' is to exterminate those poor unfortunates who live in poverty.

    Some cretin somewhere has convinced a whole lot of wealthy, white, westerners that the planet is more valuable than the lives of the poor. Aren't human beings depraved.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    for large values of 2 : 2+2=5

    Dreaming up figures for energy efficiency is nice for the marketing folks, but it is certain to get the engineers fired... or drunk... or dead... or just running away...

    The writer of the article upon we are all trying to comment on in a nice and polite way, may have fallen under the influence of corporate spin. Or he may be ignorant of the slow progress of the improvements to the otto-engine. Or there may be a missing 100 grams of co2 somewhere. The latter is not trivial. If they really are absent, a team of Tata-engineers may rightfully be counted as equals to Newton, Leibnitz, Kepler...etc...) If ,on the other hand, normal figures corresponding to 50 mpg applies, it reduces the Tata-Nano to yet another tuk-tuk of no remarkable innovation.

    These small grams of greenhouse gases are anyhow of no importance as they are absorbed into models. Nice... 400% more? Absorbed into model. Maybe this is the secret behind the low emissions claimed for the Tata-Nano : they have installed a robust and well behaving absorbent economically-derived environmental model into the tailpipe...

    Most models do not survive contact with reality for very long...

    One may wish that the same was true for economists, but they seem to cling on.

    Maybe the reason is this: " If you are not part of the solution, lots of money can be made by prolonging the problem."

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Anton

    "The right question here is what will it pollute after 3 years in the hands of a 3rd world village mechanic."

    No, it won't. Why do you think it has a two cylinder four stroke engine with very low power? Because it's a bulletproof construction.

    Even a village mechanic can change oil and filter to that. Actually, anybody can.

    "I have observed that with the early crop of of German second hand imports into Bulgaria and Romania 10-15 years ago. "

    Yes and German high tech with 12 cylinder engine, latest available technology and latest gadgets is exactly the thing Nano has, right?

    I smell strong smell of BS now. ( I have one of those, now 19 years old. Nano is definately something else.)

    "3-5 years off the factory line and the Nano will not be any different from these horrid monstrousities."

    This is also BS. Nano's engine is as simple as the one in the Enfield and it lasts 5 years without any maintenance, 10, if you chance the oil at some interval. It's proven technology already and any village mechanic can change oil to Enfield.

    (Repairing CVT is another thing, but it's even harder to break than manual gearbox and usually lasts longer than car anyway.)

  48. V.Srikrishnan

    @Geoff MacKenzie

    IF the car has been designed with indian roads in mind, i think it should be fine almost everywhere. Just hang on till the car goes on the road and see how it handles or breaks down. then you may start importing :-)

  49. V.Srikrishnan

    @Vikram Sethi

    i suspect that you may be new to the Register. the "great unwashed" is nothing compared to the vitriol the readers of the register could pour if they want to! and try not to eb so touchy..please.

    fellow indian

  50. Erik Aamot

    so let me get this straight ...

    .. the developed contries are getting more energy efficient, driving vehicles and industry with a bit less oil than years ago, so that's good ..

    and the *new* problem are the slaves of China and poor of India perhaps getting some fruits from thier labor ?

    so .. we just allow the Chinese to remain factory slaves, and India, people having limbs removed to increase thier begging *career*, right ?

    I'd say ok, being an American, but it's very clear that Global Warming is a GOOD thing for man overall, just look at man's history over the last 15,000 years, and pray we don't start going into the next Ice Age soon, though it IS about time for it

  51. Name
    Thumb Down

    Hypocracy

    Let's do the numbers. One billion people divided family of 8 (yes, you need to have 6 children to make up billion) = 125 million families. Assume each family owns a Nano, you must think all of us are stupid to believe that collective CO2 emissions by 125M cars would exceed CO2 produced by Californians.

    Do you need to give me cumulative numbers/CO2 emissions for so called 'developed' nation?

  52. Gary
    Coat

    Finding a solution

    I must admit I was appalled at the general negative response to the Tato Nano.

    It struck me as elitist hypocrisy in its crassest form.

    We ("the washed privileged") have been happily driving our 25 litre urban tanks around and generally dragging our feet trying to find a solution to our energy and climate crises. We of course don't want to be inconvenienced in any way/form during the transition.

    I view the growth and economic upliftment in countries like India and China as great for the human race. Because as their situations improve, they will spend less time on day to day subsistence and more on looking ahead. We will then hopefully have more minds applied to the challenges facing us.

    And I really think that the West cannot solve these problems alone. They are quite happy with their lot at the moment (relatively speaking) and cannot generate sufficient urgency to tackling these issues, because there is money to be made.

    We need a more philanthropic mindset to approach this challenge and hopefully the inherent spirituality of the East will help in this regard.

    Just my 5 cents worth as a non-scientist, non-economist, non-political concerned individual.

    pop coat

    ret

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Vikram Sethi and V.Srikrishnan

    Further to Evil Graham's explantion of provenance, it's just a term for "the masses", "rank and file", etc no need to be offended. The only time it is used ever so slightly offensively is when referring to the swarms of unemployed dole scroungers in the UK who are most likely to be white and instead of spending their social security handouts on soap or shampoo buy contraband booze and fags.

    Back on topic. I'd buy a Nano if it was available in my locality. I'm about to change vehicle and will be downsizing. There's really not much need for anything bigger in a large city.

  54. Hans Mustermann
    Flame

    @Mark

    Mate, I think I know enough about science, and noone is denying science. Yes, I know how a laser works. Yes, I know how models work in physics. In fact, a lot more than the average "but we have a model!!!" eco-zealot. At any rate, you'll notice that I wasn't denying science, nor that there is a temperature increase.

    So let's get that strawman out of the way, shall we? ;)

    What I am saying is that, one way or another:

    1. Even a 4% increase out of 1C is a whole 0.04C.

    Also note that we produced that increase in more than a century. So 100 million Tatas will, what? Need a century to increase the temperature by 0.04C? Even believing that it's all accelerating, then, you know, it's still many decades and still looking kinda puny compared to what the west is doing (and predicting to keep doing!) over the same interval.

    It doesn't sound _that_ scary. Or rather,

    2. I'll believe that it's scary, or that we have the right to tell them it's scary, when the west does something about it's own emissions. If 60 million tons CO2 is for a billion or so people is scary, destroying-the-planet stuff, then the west should get its own total emissions below 60 million tons CO2 per year too. (I figure, if you add up the population of USA, Canada and western Europe, we're around a billion too.) If we have the audacity to tell India that (eventually) 1 car for more than 10 people is too much, then I want to see the West too seeing to it that only 1 in 10 people drive a car.

    Doesn't like sound fun, does it? You wouldn't give up _your_ car to save the planet, would you? Then, you know, we all can jolly well quit whining when they too want a car.

    At any rate, it's that simple. We can't have the Captain-Planet-style moral high ground and paint them as the eco-villains, when, at a similar population, we're polluting 50 times more than they might. Eventually.

    We, the west, are like the village drunk lecturing others about temperance. And "do as we say, not as we do" is just another fancy phrase for being a hypocrite.

  55. Mark
    Go

    You're talking about 4% of what we're adding already?

    If so, fair enough.

    The UK emitts twice the per-capita CO2 that sweden does. Sweden has a colder climate and more night time yet still has as high (or higher) a standard of living to the UK. So we in the UK, though we're adding 2% of the worlds CO2 could reduce it by 1% and have no impact on our standard of living.

    But some think that saving 1% isn't worth it.

    I think that some people here in the UK who don't like to change or be blamed will use this Tata use to ask "why should we reduce it when the others will just increase their emissions?".

    My response: we aren't responsible for the actions of others, just our own, doesn't seem to work,

    So in that sense, the Tata can make persuading the first world to change harder.

    PS you don't KNOW how lasers work. You know how our model thinks it works, but it IS a model and is no more the truth than gravity is an attractive force between masses.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Kurt

    "Karl Marx made this mistake in the 19th century. Software is the canonical example of a good that adds value way out of proportion to the cost of the resources put in." - Bollocks! Have you ever seen the resources and the energy used in the IT industry or is it my imagination that Google has data centres the size of a football field? Even a single PC requires a massive industry to produce it; just compare the energy and resources required to enter an appointment into a BlackBerry compared to a paper diary. The resources required just to get to the stage of even writing software are awesome. If Marx's theories are so wrong why are all the profiteers still afraid of his name?

  57. JimC

    Of course if you want to reduce vehicle emissions

    Just have a national 30mph speed limit, rigidly enforced. It will do an amazing job...

  58. Steve Pettifer

    Not enough fish in the sea after all

    Although I agree that Monbiot's argument is flawed, so is the authors rebuttal. Taking his example, should we run out of sand then we would not be able to make either sandpaper or silicon based chips without finding an alternative so the creation of wealth is, at it's most basic level, entirely based upon the use of resources.

    This is why banks do not generate real wealth, only what they say they have generated, because they do not consume a resource: They just take some numbers from one column, put them in another and add a bit (in a very very basic sense).

    Granted, in the case of sand we're not likely to run out any time soon, but we certainly have a finite amount of it available to us. More importantly we have a finite amount of oil (our most important resource currently), land and other basic resources so once we have used them up we can only generate wealth in an imaginary sense unless we find an alternative resource or a way of re-using what already have.

    Still, the basic argument that this Tata doesn't mean the world will end sooner is absolutely correct: Many western countries have reached or are close to vehicle saturation (i.e. there are as many or more vehicles in the country as there are licensed drivers so they can't really get any more vehicles on the road at one time) so someone in the west buying another car is no big deal (unless they buy a real gas guzzler and use it as their primary transport instead of a more efficient vehicle) so by extension any projections had to be based on second and third world countries gettign richer and therefore being able to afford their own motorised personal transport. Just a shame the quotes came from the office of the blindingly obvious at Pew.

  59. Hans Mustermann
    Alien

    Re: You're talking about 4% of what we're adding already?

    Well, yes, that was the whole idea. The article claimed that 100 million Tatas would add up to 1% of what we're already emitting at the moment. An AC corrected that to 4%. I'm saying that that's not _too_ horribly scary a price, to let a sixth or so of the world have a decent standard of living.

    Could we do with saving 4% of the CO2? Well, yes. But there are other places we can get that from as optimization, so to speak. Just switching the western world on 50mpg cars would exceed that comfortably, and with far lesser impact than keeping a sub-continent in poverty.

    As for lasers, duly noted. Sorta. If we're to get into semantics debates, there's a difference between theory and model. E.g., gravity is a theory, assuming a falling body is a point in vacuum to calculate fall time, that's a model. The model is not the theory of where the electrons are. The model is, basically, what stuff you take into account and what stuff you think is in the decimals and can be ignored to keep the maths simple. For lasers, what qualifies as "model" is stuff like assuming the mirrors on the ends are flat.

    That subtle distinction is important for climate models too, btw. And that's one of the points the article was making. Even if we have the theories and the constants, the models for the future are based on a bunch of assumptions of what will happen in the meantime, and what influences will play a major role. So to speak, to calculate how fast an apple will fall in the future, you have to take a guess from what height it will fall. That's a model.

  60. Spleen

    Re: Grant Alexander

    Your decision to get someone in to do the painting wasn't economically irrational at all. It simply means that you placed a value on the disutility suffered from losing the time it would have taken, doing a chore you wouldn't enjoy, and the difference in quality between your paint job and a professional one. (That last variable could be positive or negative, I make no judgements on your painting ability, but the first two can only be positive.) That value was higher than the utility lost from giving the tradesmen what they were asking, so you paid the tradesmen. Perfectly rational.

    Jargon translation: utility basically combines every good feeling it's possible to have. Disutility is the opposite.

    Caveat: I only have a BSc in economics and am trying to forget as much of the useless theory as possible. There are possibly some economists who would only call your decision rational if the money you paid for the paint job was lower than the hours it would have taken you multiplied by your hourly wage (the value of your time, or to be more specific, the price you demand to give up an hour of doing what you want), but I would call this pretty narrow-minded. An economist who defines everything in money terms might have neat models but won't even be able to begin to explain why someone might insure his house then go out to a casino, or why people say "Deal" on the eponymous gameshow when "No Deal" results in an trivially-calculable higher payout every single time. (Yes, stupid game show, but brilliant economic experiment.)

    On topic: the BBC last night covered some Frenchman's car that runs mainly on compressed air, and supposedly can actually go at a decent speed. George Can'tspellhisname had what looked suspiciously like a wry grin on his face throughout, so it might not go anywhere, but it emphasises that the main contributors to the significant environmental improvement - at least in developed countries - since the 1800s has not been middle-class activists trying to keep the unwashed masses off their beach resorts, but technological progress spurred by rational economic activity.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Apparantly Inherent truths

    I am confounded! I've read with close interest each and every post in this subject and as a wannabe major power and resource eater, obviously I have a vested interest.

    And yet, I find myself agreeing with every viewpoint as it proceeds from the anti to the pro points. I feel ashamed to admit to my own car and a kettle! I want you all to know that I have resisted the urge of at least one coffee in the interests of world preservation!

    But mostly, I now recognise the truly mind-boggling complexity of the 'climate change' argument and promise to think a lot deeper about it than before ---

    --- over a fresh coffee, methinks

    I need the distraction of the Paris angle...

  62. Tim Worstal

    Garnt

    Grant

    "Not necessarily a correct assumption. Personal example - I recently paid tradesmen to paint my house. The cost was probably 10 times the amount it would have cost me to do the job myself. So why did I make an economically irrational decision? Because purchase decisions are not always economically rational. People factor in other values, such as the value of time with the family, the benefit of not tying up many, many weekends in doing the job myself."

    As with Spleen above. "Opportunity Cost" is the phrase here. The cost to you of doing something is not just the financial cost, it's the economic cost. It's the financial cost plus the value of the other things you could have been doing instead. So playing with your kids while you pay people to paint your house might not be financially rational, but it's certainly economically. We are seeing that you value the time with your kids more highly than hte price you have to pay to getthe house painted.

  63. Hans Mustermann
    Flame

    Compressed air only stores energy

    Umm, while the rest of your point is well taken, I'd like to point out that running on compressed air doesn't make a car "clean".

    1. Compressed air isn't an energy source, it's just a way to _store_ energy. You need some energy to compress the air, and then get some (but not all) of that energy back when you use it to drive the car.

    That energy still has to be produced _somewhere_. If it's produced by burning coal or oil, you just moved the CO2 to the power plant instead of at the car itself.

    Basically the compressed energy tank there is nothing more than a fancy battery. And less efficient than a normal battery, too. And I'm too lazy to do the maths, but my instinctive bet would be that it'll likely be a lot bulkier and heavier than a battery.

    But the important part is that at the end of the day, like all other feel-good technologies, like electric cars and hydrogen cars, it's just an (inefficient) way to _store_ energy, not to produce it. That car isn't just taking free energy out of the air, it's just using air to store some of the energy driving the compressor.

    It _might_ help clean the planet, if you get that energy from nuclear power plants. Unfortunately a heck of a lot of people are against nuclear plants too, and doubly so against having one in their back yard. Funnily enough, it's usually the same eco-activists that rant about electric cars and hydrogen cars as the way of the future, who are against nuclear power too. So effectively their crusade is to... move the CO2 emission from one point to another.

    And to tie it to the rest of your point, that's feel-good utility for you. It lets people feel oh-so-green because the CO2 isn't coming out of a pipe at the back of their car. That it comes instead from a big chimney at the power plant, well, they can pretend that doesn't exist, and keep feeling smug about it.

    2. It's hardly an example that "significant environmental improvement [...] has not been middle-class activists trying to keep the unwashed masses off their beach resorts, but technological progress spurred by rational economic activity."

    In fact, I think you'll find that quite the contrary, rational economic activity left alone has continuously produced more and more pollution. Rational economics said that if it doesn't cost you a dime to dump your noxious fumes in the air or your waste in a river, you'd have to be a dolt to pay for expensive filters. I.e., there wouldn't have been a market or funding for technological progress in that direction.

    The only thing that created the conditions for that progress have been, yes, those meddling activists pushing for emission-control legislation. _Then_ a market appeared for those filters and clean technologies, and rational economic activity could take it from there.

    The free market is just an optimization mechanism, nothing more. You have some constraints (e.g., availability of manpower and resources) and it helps find a relatively optimal solution point... for those constraints. But, as in all optimization problems, you have to set your constraints to get what you actually wanted out of it. If you don't constrain pollution somehow, the optimal solution it spits out might be to dump waste into a river. That's rational economic activity for you.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Population explosion...

    Of course, 100 million people moving from overloaded scooters and bikes to nice safe cars will quickly result in 200 million people.

    Without being malthusian, the world isn't going to end because of over-population, it will become a crap place to live. Many parts of africa would be quite pleasant places for a small fraction of the population to live, with the current population levels, the wealth of these countries simply cannot support them and they live in poverty.

    Yes, the future generations will be born of people who disagree with me, but then, I was born of people who disagree with me too. Perhaps the future generations will appreciate my own sacrifice in the face of their parents genetic greed.

    ...or perhaps they'll be too busy scrabbling in the dirt for whatever they can find.

    Nice car though, bit like a smart but without the rip off.

  65. Tim Schomer
    Stop

    Are you telling me...

    That all this environmental disaster theory is based on 4 sets of 2 numbers, (population and GDP) arbitrarily settled on by some supposedly qualified person.

    I like to think of myself as fairly logical, and I can't see how the f**k they can get all those predictions from 2 variables! Someone please tell me that they use more intelligent methods than that!

    Rototype

  66. James Pickett
    Paris Hilton

    @Pyros

    "the happier you are the less likely you need to do the rumpy-pumpy"

    Perhaps it's me, but I've always found it the reverse. Perhaps it depends on the quality of the R-P...

    Excellent article, BTW. The indignation of the 'global warming' industry is glorious to behold.

    FWIW, the climate changes because it always has, and we've only had rainforests since the last ice age.

    PH because she knows all about gravy trains (and R-P).

  67. Chris Miller

    The Economics of Climate Change

    The article is very helpful in highlighting the economic weaknesses of the IPCC climate forecasts. I'm prepared to accept that the science is the best we can do at present (it remains pretty poor - the climate is vastly more complex than the models and reliable, accurate, comprehensive data sets are only available for the last few decades), though we'll only be able to test its accuracy in 50 years time. But the economics are weak, based on implausible long-term growth rates and unlikely assumptions that CO2 production will increase in proportion.

    Of course, if we were lucky enough to achieve these levels of growth over the next 100 years, everyone in the third world would have earnings equivalent to a western European and everyone in the western world would have the earnings of a professional footballer. In which case, we could certainly afford to cover the projected costs of dealing with the effects of climate change. But don't take my word for it - read the experts:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldselect/ldeconaf/12/12i.pdf

    BTW re painting your own house - Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) said it best:

    Lord Finchley tried to mend the Electric Light

    Himself. It struck him dead: and serve him right!

    It is the business of the wealthy man

    To give employment to the artisan.

  68. Risky
    Happy

    Fine stuff

    This discussion is full of informed, thoughtful argument, with a lack of the usual posters proposing simplistic solutions or blaming a conspiracy of the Millitary-Industrial Complex and the Bavarian Illuminati.

    Most refreshing.

    Meanwhile back in the outside world the whole green continues to be dumbed down by those with their own agendas to promote.

  69. John

    Lean!

    Apply Lean manufacturing principles to everything! It drives out waste, it's properly capitalist and gives the workers control of production. What more could you want?

  70. cphi
    Stop

    resources and growth

    Unless there's some subtle semantics going on here that I'm unaware of there most certainly is a relationship between 'economic activity' and resource consumption. It's true the ratio of output to resource input is declining (eg chips vs sandpaper) but it's still certainly positive (making chips doesn't stop you making sandpaper). One only has to witness the stumble in global economic growth after the oil shocks of 1973 or Australia's current resources boom as a result of China's economic growht.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Risky: Conspiracy of the Millitary-Industrial Complex and the Bavarian Illuminati.

    Of course all this global warming stuff is rubbish, it's put about by BMW so they can sell their hydrogen powered tanks. Clearly we should all ride bicycles.

    (Any better?)

  72. cphi
    Stop

    resources and growth - oops

    I should have said

    'It's true the ratio of resource input to economic output is declining (eg chips vs sandpaper), but it's still certainly positive (making chips doesn't stop you making sandpaper) and it's decreasing at a far smaller rate than the economy is growing.'

    -sorry

  73. Tim Worstal

    Tom

    "That all this environmental disaster theory is based on 4 sets of 2 numbers, (population and GDP) arbitrarily settled on by some supposedly qualified person.

    I like to think of myself as fairly logical, and I can't see how the f**k they can get all those predictions from 2 variables! Someone please tell me that they use more intelligent methods than that!"

    It's not quite arbitrary, no. But yes, those numbers are the basic inputs to the entire structure. Read the (short) chapter: "scenario storylines" here.

    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc/emission/089.htm

    Chapter 4.3

  74. John Savard Silver badge

    When Hypocrisy Is Involved

    If someone believes it's easier to get the poor people of India to forego having cars because they haven't had them before, than to get people in the rich countries to use theirs less, he may be just being pragmatic and ungenerous.

    Those who, however, say that global warming is real, and we're doomed until the Nano is stopped, and then turn around and say, when discussing things to do in the rich countries, that global warming is unproven: that would by hypocrisy.

  75. Pat

    You work under the wrong assumption anyways

    The assumption that the cause for climate change has been determined to be CO2, and that a consensus on this has been reached.

    It has not. In fact, a significant number of well know and very credible scientists have put serious doubts in the green-house gas theory.

    There is no consensus, there is only vague theory, therefore the argument about the Tata Nano is very premature. And as you pointed out, it's impact would be negligible at best.

  76. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  77. janu
    Gates Horns

    Nano and Environment

    Here is an attitude problem with B rits...

    Jeremy C who has a very huge following mocks and makes fun of the hybrids, praises big engine gas guzzlers. He very rarely promotes small compact cars suitable for most of the needs. His only criteria seems to be speed instead for engineering going behind hybrids, efforts put into making car engines small and efficient.

    What a joke!! this is the most popular TV show in Britain telling almost everyone to buy huge fast cars.

    Now some engineers in India produce a small car for families capable of providing reasonably safe transport around the city with emissions less than a 150 cc moped, everyone here seems to be worried about pollution and its environmental impact.

    No doubt most of the population and followers of Jeremy C will mock, thumb down a Nano if they it runs on the roads of Britain.

    Hypocrisy, arrogance and ignorance that is all this is really.

  78. David Evans

    @janu

    Actually, if you'd read the replies on here you'd see that most people AREN'T worried about the environmental impact of the Nano, and are criticizing the western enviro-doomsayers who want to pull up the drawbridge.

    Believe it or not, most of us can watch Top Gear and treat it as the entertaining show it is and separate our enjoyment of that from our views on economic growth in the developing world. And funnily enough, if Tata were selling the Nano here for £1500, even JC wouldn't mock. He takes the piss out of badly built junk like the G-Whizz because its slow, unsafe AND expensive. There's usually a method to his madness.

  79. donc
    Alert

    @Janu

    Actually Jeremy Clarkeson makes a perfectly valid criticism of hybrids, they are not all that environmentally friendly. A Prius was road tested on Top Gear a while a go, it has to be driven very carefully to get the best fuel consumption. Thrash the guts out of it and you can forget any semblance of efficiency just like any other petrol engined car. And for the effort of careful driving you get 55 mpg (imperial gallons by the way...), thrash it and look at it return fuel figures in the 30's (still better than most SUVs however). Furthermore the hybrid needs natural resources to manufacture the batteries, which have no doubt been obtained by a bit of open cast mining. That will involve not only tearing up the landscape but lots of CO2 emissions from the machinery...

    A reasonably sized diesel can do 50+mpg without breaking a sweat, they are inherently more efficient than an equivalent petrol engine because of the laws of thermodynamics.

    In fact when I saw the show with the Pirus review JC actually pointed out that a far more effective solution to improving car fuel economy is to buy a VW Polo diesel. You can get better than 70 mpg from it and no need for open cast mining (sure it won't fit four obese yanks/brits but most of us need to go on diets anyway :-) ).

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    for large values of 2 : 2+2=5

    Here is how Jeremy Clarkson could drive a Tata Nano Veyron:

    He drives out into the countryside and runs out of gas.

    He knows that the villagers get subsidized fuel for cooking from the government and finds a fellow that is more than willing to part with his allowance. The price is reasonable to Jeremy, as he has indefinite spending power compared to the villager. The villager is better off. He can afford tea and other stuff, and can still cook on three stones in the backyard. He has not forgotten how, as the government subsidized cooking kit is only five years old.

    Clearly the villager is implementing an economically near optimum strategy and cannot be blamed for succumbing to Jeremys proposal. Jeremy is blissful and has a clear conscience as BBC is picking up the tab for both his stay ,his petrol and his emissions. ( the latter voluntarily of course... ) Jeremy is still grateful to the villager and decides to let BBC pick up the tab for the three stone fire as well. The problem is that the expense report has no fields for three stone fires. So he calls a friend that works in the energy field and asks him about three stone fires. After half a minute Jeremy is mentally asleep. Particulate emissions, quality of fuel, geometry of pots and pans, the way the fire is tended, zzzzzz.zzzzzz. So in order to not fall asleep for real he has to cut it short and ask: What is the environmental impact of substituting a primus with a three stone fire?

    Is it complicated? 60% efficiency or better from a primus? 5-7% efficiency from a three stone fire? 1,8 million premature deaths every year due to three stone cooking practices...

    It makes Jeremys head spin and after a whiskey he decides to just deflate the Mpg of the Nano by a factor of 10 for the return stretch.

    There it is : Tata Nano : 50mpg

    Tata Nano Veyron : 5mpg

    Jeremy is happy! The bottle is empty. He will be sober enough to drive in a day or so...

    Oh yes! With scottish brown aged ethanol sold at the prices of bio-ethanol there would be no demand for the latter... Or any other fuel... What a tremendous gain for the environment... My own private vintage Gilbarco with Lagavullin on tap... 4£ per gallon...

    Its been fun conversing with you, I may even shed that Anonymous Coward-thing one day...

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