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Discussion Starter #1
Earlier this month, the Kyoto Protocol on climate change entered into force, despite the embarrassing failure of a few prominent nations to sign the treaty. This milestone caused me to pause for a few moments to consider my own carbon "footprint" on the planet.

I realize this may not be the most receptive forum for this issue, but I wonder whether anyone else has ever considered the impact of our cars on the atmosphere and climate that we all share?

When I see people trying to figure out how to remove pollution control devices like cats, together with the seemingly endless quest for more and more horsepower, I have to wonder whether the thought of what we're collectively doing to the planet ever crosses our minds?

Let me be the first to admit that I'm as guilty as anyone of overconsumption! Just take a look at my current fleet of motor vehicles, and you'll see that I'm clearly not holding myself out as an example of climate-friendly motoring. Heck, I own an airplane that still burns leaded fuel!

But I do have an increasing number of friends who own the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, diesel VW Jetta, and other ultra-low emissions vehicles. I like to joke that I'm burning the gas they're saving. But it does make me wonder sometimes whether I'm being a responsible citizen of the planet.

I'd be particuarly interested to hear what our European members think about this issue. Europe is generally greener than North America, and in general Europeans consume less and conserve more. How do you guys justify your cars to your friends who don't share your love for performance automobiles? Or do you simply not bother to try?

Again, I'm not trying to be sanctimonious here, or even intentionally provocative. But it seems increasingly clear that human-induced climate change is real, and that carbon dioxide emissions will have to be reduced to avoid future catastrophic effects on commerce and natural systems. I suspect I'm not the only one who sometimes questions how long we'll be able to justify our passions for performance cars and airplanes in a world that is trying to find ways to cope with a changing climate.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Mike
 

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I ponder the effect of the M5 on climate until I realize I average 19-20 mpg. Most SUVs can't come close to that so I am better than 50% of new car buyers. Until Escalades and Hummers get a gas guzzler tax and road use tax, I'm not going to feel bad about my M5 purchase. Plus I have a Neon as a 2nd car so I can drive something with better mpg.
 

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Someone once told me they had an ethical problem with driving a big-engined car, and I replied that I didn't have an ethical problem, just a financial one.


....and I think that about sums up my views on the matter, after all one less m5 isn't really going to change anything, other than to make me miserable.
 

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I've had similar discussions with my diesel Jetta buddy, but it really all depends on how much mileage one drives. My round trip commute is 5 miles, his is closer to 50 miles. So who is polluting more?

John
 

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Mike, I think it is completely appropriate to ask the question, one of the big problems with climate change issues today is that people at the extremes are not interested in having a real debate with data and information involved.

Some things are very certain, and some are not. It is very certain that atmospheric CO2 levels are rising and almost as certain that a good part of this is related to burning of carbon based fuels. It is also relatively clear that global average temperature has increased over the past few decades.

A lot less certainty exits around the climate models that are used to "prove" the cause and effect between atmospheric CO2 increases and average global temperature increases. For instance, none of the current models are able to replicate past ice ages.

So we are left with a possible cause of a potential problem that won't be really manifested for perhaps 100+ years and would be quite expensive to fix if we even could. So what is one to do?

A reasonable approach might be to do what one can to reduce CO2 using all of the ways you have at your disposal, including better insulation on your home, less use of electricity, etc, as well as looking at your vehicle. Best thing for your vehicle is to put more than one person in it when you are going somewhere, all of a sudden a 20 mpg is now 40 or 60 mpg (plus your passengers get a much more fun ride!).

Anyhow, that's some thoughts. Just fyi, as a test in Australia, BP is offering a fuel where the CO2 emissions are offset elsewhere by BP for every gallon purchased. Some folks are interested, some are not, our experience in the US would say that almost no one will pay extra for environmental benefit alone, but some will pay extra for performance improvement when accompanied by environmental improvement.
 

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Climate change is a natural process.

But the science presented to date to show that current temperatures are beyond historic norms is looking more bogus by the day, the projections that the IPCC used to get to their conclusions were fabricated to fit the outcome they wanted, and the terms of the Kyoto agreement itself looks to be fundamentally an excuse for more taxation.

The "it's caused by human activity and we in the Enlightened Industrial World need to fix it" camp hasn't made their case, as far as I'm concerned.

I like this guy's take overall, though I could find specific points to quibble with:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0312/S00036.htm
 

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Ridge

Then there's the purely pragmatic viewpoint - I assume that you can't drive all the cars and fly the plane at the same time, so look at all the carbon you're keeping out of the ecosystem by parking them. If you hadn't bought them and parked them, someone would be making pollution with them!

Well done! On a per vehicle basis you probably produce less pollution than someone with a new Civic Hybrid.

Cheers
JJ
 

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The time between owning my 1993 740il and my 2001 M5 (an 8 year span of '96 - '04) I drove a Geo Prizm (A.K.A. Toyota Corolla) and put over 200,000 miles on it's clock.
I paid my dues :hihihi:

I'm also a pilot and also consider the effects of the leaded fuel I'm burning (at an equivalent of 10MPG). I'm sure kerosene burns cleaner - another excuse for that TBM700 in my dreams lovelove

Paul

P.S. - I kept the Prizm for those predictable "stop-and-go-driving" days.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
jaj said:
Ridge

Then there's the purely pragmatic viewpoint - I assume that you can't drive all the cars and fly the plane at the same time, so look at all the carbon you're keeping out of the ecosystem by parking them. If you hadn't bought them and parked them, someone would be making pollution with them!

Well done! On a per vehicle basis you probably produce less pollution than someone with a new Civic Hybrid.

Cheers
JJ
Guys, thanks for all the thoughtful replies. But this one was my favorite! I have to admit that I've used this logic on occasion to explain my fleet of vehicles to detractors!

Mike
 

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I love this topic...

:cool:

While we are all concerned... I try and remember the following factoid (don't remember where I got this factoid...however)...

It takes twice the energy (pollution) to create a car with all the steel, plastic, lights, heat, etc etc, than the car will consume in an average life time.

If you want to cut in half the pollution, produce cars that last twice as long.

Sort of puts it is perspective for me...

Bob
 

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In London it's common to see a bus belching pollution and carrying only one or two passengers.

Then there's the effect of all those jet aircraft, not to mention old home heating systems, decrepit inefficient power stations etc. etc., all of which do a lot more damage than modern cars.

Governments could easily start by removing bus lanes and speed humps/cameras which would make traffic move better - this would be very eco-friendly as well. Sadly, I doubt this will happen anytime soon :sad1:
 
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