Sunday, December 18, 2005

Is the SMMT in bed with the Nuclear Industry?

Recently Norwich officially unvieled it's own initiative to halt the spread of 4x4s. And to our surprise, our friend Chris McGowan of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders released the following press release on 05 December. You have to wonder, what does the motoring society have to do with the government's Energy Review? Understandably, they feel threatened because a policy to reduce automobile emissions would impact sales of gas-guzzling and poorly designed vehicles. The Alliance Against Urban 4x4s believes that all vehicles should be adequately taxed dependent on their CO2 emissions, not just 4x4s.

Contents : Environmental lobby ignoring the bigger picture on CO2 emissions, says Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

SMMT has reacted with concern over a Friends of the Earth statement, calling for massive increases in tax on 4x4 vehicles, whilst seemingly refusing to participate in the nuclear debate.Friends of the Earth, and fellow lobbyists Greenpeace, have made their anti-nuclear position clear before a full and informed debate on the nuclear option. Yet a statement released by Friends of the Earth has urged Chancellor Gordon Brown to take more action to reduce the threat of climate change.

Nuclear power has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions significantly from the largest source of man-made carbon dioxide - the energy industries. At the moment, this accounts for around 38 per cent of total output, compared to 22 per cent for road transport.

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan commented, 'Nuclear power may or may not be the way forward in terms of energy policy. However, to adopt a "no thanks" policy with its echoes from the cold war era, while berating drivers of 4x4 and SUV vehicles, is quite wrong. A full and informed debate on all efforts to cut CO2 across all industries would best serve the environment in the medium and long term.'

According to the BBC, Friends of the Earth and Green Party members are today targeting 4x4 drivers in Norwich, handing out 'parking tickets' in a protest over air quality.

Yet, once again, protestors are ignoring the facts. As well as average CO2 reductions of around 15 per cent in six years, a modern 4x4 diesel emits just seven per cent of the particulate emissions of a 15 year old saloon. Similarly on air quality NOx emissions, standards for the latest Euro 4 petrol 4x4s are six times as tight as those for a Euro 2 saloon, some of which are as little as five years old.

Will Friends of the Earth and Green Party members be ticketing drivers of older, more polluting saloons, estates and small cars?