Monday, April 21, 2008

Richmond: School Run Charges for Hi-CO2 Cars

In another ground breaking move by Richmond Council, cars on the school run are to pay for temporary council parking permits which will vary in price according to the CO2 emissions level of the car. The pilot is scheduled to start in September.

According to the Telegraph article, 'Parents are to be charged up to £75 a year by councils to drop their children off on the school run.'

'Richmond introduced "environmentally friendly" parking charges based on vehicle emissions in late 2006 and now the Liberal Democrat authority has gone further by introducing its "permits for school parents", affecting hundreds of people across 13 schools in the borough.

'Previously, parents could collect a free permit from the school, allowing them to park on yellow lines or in nearby bays for 10 minutes. From September, they will have to get a council permit to park in bays near the school for 15 minutes.'

'The fee will vary according to the car's carbon dioxide emissions, with owners of small cars paying nothing, while most parents with people carriers or four-wheel-drives, pay the full £75.'

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Greenwash by Land Rover

In a clear example of greenwashing, Land Rover’s global green campaign, launched last month, boasts about the car’s unique relationship with the planet. The ads focus on research into biodiesel engines, a new carbon off-setting scheme, and sustainable technology, all set in stunning landscapes. Unfortunately, this company, now owned by Tata, is great at selling an enviable lifestyle pathetically without a real care for the environment.

Land Rover’s gas-guzzling 4x4s are bad news for the environment. The company has the technology to make fuel-efficient vehicles, but instead chooses to push urban 4x4s, which are unlikely to tackle anything steeper than a speed bump.

In the UK, road transport accounts for about a quarter of the emissions that cause climate change. It's time manufacturers started taking things seriously.

Our friend Peter did some quick number crunching for us. Let's say Dagenham saves 3,000 tonnes CO2 per year from their new wind turbine (as seen in the film below). Good for them.

Let's then assume each engine they make does 16,000 km per year at 400 gmCO2 /km. That equals 6.4 tonnes per year. Assuming a 10 year life = 64 tonnes CO2 in each engine's lifetime.

Landrover make 100,000 engines a year which will produce 6.4 million tonnes CO2 in their lifetime. The 3,000 tonne 'saving' from their wind turbine is therefore wiped out by the production of 50 engines within just 4 hours.

Now that's Greenwash!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Polls Show UK Should Double Efficiency of Cars by 2020

In a new poll conducted by FoE EWNI, 78% of those questioned agreed that, in order to tackle climate change, European governments should make vehicle manufacturers double the fuel efficiency of new cars by 2020 (40% agreed strongly and 38% agreed).

The YouGov poll also showed that, of those who knew what biofuels are, three quarters would prefer the Government to curb emissions by improving public transport or making cars greener rather than focusing on the alternative fuels.

Email Address for the Head CEO of Porsche

If Londoners would like to personally communicate with the Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking, CEO of Porsche in Germany, about Porsche and the way they are behaving like the ugly German in the UK, then please use this email address. Always be sure to be formal and polite.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Neither Porsche Nor Boris Can Drive Away from Global Warming

Reprinted from an article in the New Statesman by Tony Bosworth at Friends of the Earth:

"The mayoral candidates need to consider global warming when discussing the congestion and emission charges.

Car ads sell us a particularly seductive modern day fantasy. We are promised open roads cutting through sweeping panoramic landscapes, speed, freedom, and excitement.

But for those of us who find ourselves inching along in snarled up traffic, the lack of speed isn’t the only difference between the dream and the reality of modern day motoring. Road transport accounts for about a fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions – and research shows using greener cars could be the fastest way to slash this. Therefore moves by national and local government to encourage drivers to use smarter cars – such as the Mayor of London’s proposal to increase the congestion charge to £25 for gas-guzzlers - are welcome.

Ken Livingstone’s proposal has infuriated Porsche, which has launched a legal challenge against what it brands a ‘disproportionate’ measure. Of the 53 types of car that Porsche sells in the UK, 51 would pay the higher charge. In a document seen by the Daily Telegraph, the car manufacturer estimates its sales would fall by 11 per cent if the higher charge came in.

The London congestion charge isn’t the only climate-changing initiative that Porsche opposes. Along with the rest of the car industry, Porsche - which boasts of “protecting the environment to the highest degree” - is fighting new targets to reduce pollution from new vehicles by increasing their fuel efficiency. Could the bottom line be concentrating their minds?

Of course, if Ken doesn’t get elected as Mayor of London on 1 May then Porsche’s London legal challenge will vanish into thin air. Both Boris Johnson and Brian Paddick would drop the proposed gas-guzzler charge.

It’s telling, though, that neither of them would abolish the congestion charge in the original central London zone, pledging only to reopen consultation on the more recent extension into west London. Boris’s promise to look at introducing a flexible pricing system to target the worst congestion seems sensible – until you consider that many of the capital’s top congestion hot-spots are actually in outer London.

Brian Paddick’s plan to introduce a London-wide charge for all cars entering London from outside the city are certainly ambitious, but it would need top notch monitoring technology and drastic negotiations with train and bus operators to ensure the infrastructure is in place to shuttle a high volume of incomers into the capital and out again.

The Lib Dem and Tory candidates have also pledged to re-phase traffic lights to get traffic moving faster – a move which neither takes account of those of us trying to cross the road on foot nor tackles the central problem of the sheer volume of traffic on London’s roads.

The congestion charge is not perfect, but it’s a vital tool that, now it is in place, can be fine tuned and perfected in time. And it is crucial in sending the message to the rest of the world that global warming is not something any of us can simply drive away from in a cloud of dust."

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Dinosaur Hunt Leads Team to a Petrified Porsche

Today, campaigners from the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s led a dinosaur hunt through Berkeley Square to the Porsche dealership in Mayfair, exposing Porsche as a dinosaur company petrified by a changing climate. Unless Porsche adapts their business model they will become extinct.

Adorned in pith helmets and hiking boots, equipped with binoculars and dinosaur field guides, campaigners lead members of the public to seek out those last remaining urban dinosaurs, relics like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Porsche 911 GT2 and other prehistoric Porsche species. Their banner read: Petrified Porsche – Stop Being a Dinosaur: Adapt or Become Extinct, while placards asked passers by to spot the difference between an Anchiceratops and a Porschus Carbonosaurus.

Porsche forced themselves into the limelight in the UK by legally challenging the latest congestion charge plans. According to their legal papers they will be representing all band G car owners. However, preserving sales are blatantly Porsche's main, perhaps only concern. 44 of the 45 cars they produce are in Band G, and when the £25 congestion charge is introduced in October, Porsche expect sales to plummet by 11%.

Londoners aren't the only one's to feel the brunt of Porsche's position as a carbon dinosaur.

Porsche are also fighting any attempts towards meaningful and binding emissions reductions by seriously undermining the EU CO2 regulations. According to Citigroup Global Markets, "Porsche faces huge financial penalties if the EU's demands are not watered down. Porsche would need to improve its fleet average fuel consumption from 20 mpg to close to 40 mpg by 2012, to avoid fines of more than $736 million by 2016". To do this they would have to cut an eye watering average of 138gm/km CO2 per car in order to meet the current target of 120 gm/kmCO2 by 2012.

To amplify how ill prepared Porsche is for change, Herbert Ampfere, Porsche's manager for energy and environment, said that the new EU rules on CO2 could lead to the company's demise.

The Porsche Cayenne Turbo is one of the most polluting 4x4s on the market, emitting an extraordinary 358g of CO2 per kilometer. Its peculiar design is a prehistoric spectacle of both enormous power and weight. A Porsche Cayenne Turbo can travel up to 171 miles per hour, but in London you're more likely to be crawling along at 5 miles per hour in traffic rather than burning the tarmac like Porsche's ads might suggest.

Recently the Telegraph wrote "that 2008 is likely to go down as the year when even the most die-hard petrol-head realised that there will be no U-turn in the drive to abolish gas-guzzlers and develop more fuel-efficient cars. In the UK, Porsche's legal battle with London Mayor Ken Livingstone and the Chancellor's Budget measures to penalise thirsty cars may come to be seen as tipping points in officialdom's crackdown on the biggest emitters of C02. It's a situation being replicated around the world."

We expect to see a public backlash, and Porsche will suffer even more in its PR faux pas. Londoners feel that they, not Porsche, should decide whether or not to proceed with the CO2 charge on gas guzzling vehicles. To illustrate this point, some of the signatories on our petition against the Porsche legal challenge have included hefty comments such as the one below:

Mr. Robinson from NW11 writes: "I am disgusted by Porsche's attempts to prevent the imposition of a congestion charge on polluting cars in London. Porsche's stance looks both irresponsible and arrogant. And it is appalling PR. Even if the company choose not to support the ban by being so vocal in opposition they ally themselves with the past and not the future…Porsche are ensuring that they are seen to be irresponsible."

We feel that more actions are needed to challenge fossilized manufacturers, like Porsche, who are either oblivious like dodos or showing their teeth like velociraptors rather than clean up their vehicle fleets. Their engineering teams are perfectly able to make cars that don't create the excessive amounts of emissions of band G cars, yet that is where most have traditionally profited. With this new C Charge helping to change people's buying habits, the pressure is now on manufacturers like Porsche to produce and advertise cleaner cars for their customers.

With today's action we have focused the attention on a real dinosaur. We know Londoners will be watching to see if or how well Porsche can respond to the pressures for change.

Facts about Porsche

• Last year, Porsche also challenged the EU Commission as they drew up plans to set tough CO2 targets for the car industry. Porsche, who would be most affected by the new EU regulations, would need to cut an eye watering average of 138gm/km CO2 per car in order to meet the current target of 120 gm/kmCO2 by 2012.

• Porsche, as a member of ACEA have also lobbied for delays and weakening of years of European pollutant emissions standards for cars (Euro standards).

• In the USA, Porsche exerted their influence to weaken new CAFE standards in summer 2007. Porsche arranged for a Senator to offer an exemption ('application of an alternative average fuel economy standard') for small auto companies, and argued that as a low volume manufacturer, they couldn't meet 35 miles per gallon, requiring a weaker standard. The move was defeated.

• Porsche only produce gas guzzling and high-carbon emitting sports cars and SUV's. 44 out of 45 Porsche vehicles fall in Band G, the other in band F. The Cayenne Turbo is one of the most polluting 4x4s, with 378gCO2/km - that's nearly four times the level of the low emission VW Polo Blue Motion.

• The plain truth is - Porsche are at the top of the European league table as the most polluting

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Porsche Makes a Public Apology to Londoners!

Today, in a breathtaking turnaround, the German sports car maker Porsche made a startling public apology to Londoners, and Mayor Ken Livingstone's Office!

According to Managing Director Andy Goss, Porsche apologized:

“For being so pigheaded in pushing for a judicial review of the recent changes in the congestion charge. A bit rash we know! Sorry. But now that we think about it, the change does actually seem quite a good idea.”

He continued, “And ok, you’ve got us. With a few of our mates, we have been doing our best to railroad EU plans to set binding emissions targets for gas guzzlers by 2012. Can’t blame us for having a go though can you? Ok, so you can. But look, we know it’s wrong”.

Finally, he added, “Oh, and last, but by no means least, we should stop claiming we’re ‘green’ while making incredibly polluting cars. So we’re pleased to announce a new concept model, taking the 4x4 into the 2x2 age.”

Wow. We're still a bit caught off guard here at the Alliance, but this goes to show that miracles do happen, even in the 21st century.

If anyone wants to thank Porsche directly for their tremendously courageous turnaround, they can be contacted by email at or by telephone: +44 8457 911 911