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Blow to carmakers

Mark Mardell | 13:54 UK time, Thursday, 25 September 2008

What is more important, people's jobs or fighting climate change? Or is there no real conflict?

There's been a surprising defeat for European carmakers and their allies over the new plans to cut back greenhouse gases. A carefully stitched-together deal between the two big groupings of left and right in the European Parliament came apart at the seams, as Socialists worried about their green credentials voted against the party line in the environment committee.

Most expected them to water down the European Commission's proposals for an average emission of 130g of carbon per kilometre driven in four years' time. The manufacturers hoped it would be phased in gradually, giving them 12 years to meet the target. Plans to cut fines for those who break the rules have also been thrown out. VW Golf

The Liberal Democrats' Chris Davies told me it was "utterly astonishing, the press release I prepared before the meeting has been torn up.

"What has happened is that the German car lobby, which has been exerting enormous pressure on MEPs, has been sent away with its tail between its legs."

Despite the huge pressure being put on them by party leaders and corporate lobbyists doing the rounds MEPs have refused to be bullied.

But the Conservatives are worried. Martin Callanan told me: "almost 200,000 people's jobs in the UK depend on car manufacturing and already we've seen cutbacks in production in August. I know the figures in September are even worse, so it won't be long before we see lay-offs. We have to be very careful. The vote today makes lay-offs, a loss of jobs more likely, there's no question".

Why? I ask him.

"Because manufacturers are making less money from smaller cars, many of them are imported into the EU and of course this is forcing manufacturers to produce smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, but making consumers buy them is the other side of the equation. And of course if people keep their older, more polluting cars on the roads for longer nobody gains, we loose jobs and the environment suffers as well."

Labour MEPs I speak to are in the odd position of voting for the compromise, because they thought it was the easiest way of getting some sort of deal, but are now quite happy to go with the tougher, original package.

What happens now will be interesting, and rather complex. Most committee votes are a result of pre-arranged deals between the political groups and it can be taken for granted when the full parliament votes it will back them. In this case, the German government, and perhaps others with large-scale manufacturing, are not happy.

It will be up to the French presidency, with a reputation for being a bit cavalier with their brief, to work out something acceptable to the MEPs and the national governments. Then - the theory is - party discipline will hold. Chris Davies may want to hang onto his press release, and in the interest of the environment, recycle it in December.


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  • 1. At 2:29pm on 25 Sep 2008, G-in-Belgium wrote:

    Seen as how it's been policy for the last sixty years to get everyone into cars, onto motorways and into grey suburbia; public transport has become private, expensive and downright unreliable, and in some cases non-existent; that a modern car expels about as much CO2 as a human and a half does whilst breathing; industry pollutes far more than commuting, that building and dismantling a motor vehicle pollutes more than the said vehicle during it's running life; that you can still get flight as short distance as Brussels to Paris or Amsterdam (how much does that pollute?) and that the general public is being taxed out of existence to bail out failing companies that reward people who do their jobs badly with huge golden handshakes, I'll opine Jobs thank you very much.
    So I'll carry on trundling around in my 42 year old Triumph that probably pumps out 130 kilos of carbon per kilometre, and heat my home with Russian oil until there's a sensible proposition and option that I can afford.
    Not that I'm jealous or anything ;)

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  • 2. At 2:46pm on 25 Sep 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    The best people to ask that question Mark are the people who will lose their jobs because the Green Activists will not give way to other issues that effect people more personally.

    The direct up shot of this debacle is that the car manufacturers will simply shift their manufacture to countries where they don't care about the Environment. The result will be a loss of car manufacturing within Europe.

    The Environment is important but if your out of work and cannot subsist then all the green credentials and green lifestyle are worth nothing compared to poverty at worst or unemployment at best.

    I imagine Indai and China will be more than happy to take up the slack and make cars for the rest of the world outside of Europe and make really big cars that pollute and drive the Europeans Greens bonkers but the simple truth is the European Greens can only hurt their fellow Europeans and the Indian and Chinese workers will stick up two fingers at Europe and say the Europeans are stupid, mad or both!

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  • 3. At 3:00pm on 25 Sep 2008, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Menedemus (2):

    Same rules apply to imported cars that apply to domestically produced cars. The reason why many European especially German car makers where against proposed EU regulations was that the new regulations would cost them as they would have to bring new eco-friendlier product lines more quickly to markets.

    In the end however I think that these new EU regulations will just make European car manufacturers stronger as they have to invest more on research and development to meet the requirements. Even now some manufacturers like BMW offer more economical and green products than their Japanese counter parts.

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  • 4. At 3:13pm on 25 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    In general terms I am opposed to targeted taxation on the grounds that it is inefficient and because of the conflict of interest between the need for revenue and the wider agenda.

    However, in this case I make an exception. A high proportion of drivers need to do so. For most, it is not a question of choice so, however undesirable it might be, it is inescapable. Given that, the priority must be to encourage people to use vehicles which do as little damage to the environment as possible and use alternatives where available.

    There ought not to be a conflict. Ideally what should happen is that the tax regime strongly favours high economy low emission vehicles. There would be a shift in consumer behaviour which an intelligent manufacturer would follow not by building fewer cars but more suitable ones. It is no coincidence that Porsche is buying up VW shares as fast as they can. They know that the age of the gas guzzler is nearing its end.

    At its most extreme, the problem is exemplified by mothers dropping one child off to school in a bl**dy great 4x4 and parking in the place reserved for the bus that should have been used in the first place. Such people deserve to be taxed heavily.

    I accept that, in many parts of Europe, the public transport infrastructure has declined but this is not the case in major cities and measures to encourage public transport use where it is available should be applauded. If this entails measures like congestion charging, I am not opposed to that but it could be more targeted. There really is no logic to ordinary people driving large cumbersome status symbols around city centres when there are perfectly efficient small vehicles available.

    The key is not to stifle demand but to channel it in the right direction. Time for the Sloane Rangers to give up the city cruises, methinks. Hit 'em where it hurts!

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  • 5. At 3:15pm on 25 Sep 2008, ScepticalOxford wrote:

    According to BBC News today - - the UN is estimating millions of 'green jobs' to be created in the next few decades as a result of emerging alternative technologies.

    Presumably many of these new jobs will be in Europe, surely one of the world's leading regions for such technologies, and will require the type of labour and skills that many jobseekers from the former car industries can offer.

    On balance, our governments can pass policy to address unemployment and welfare, as they have done many times in the past.

    Finding a policy to combat irreparable environmental damage is far more difficult.

    Which is why I choose climate change over jobs any day.

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  • 6. At 3:15pm on 25 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    #1 - G-in-Belgium

    Not a 2 litre drophead Vitesse is it? Best car I ever head. Now I am jealous :-(((

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  • 7. At 3:22pm on 25 Sep 2008, bena gyerek wrote:

    bloody brussels, controlled by the car lobby..

    ..oh wait, they voted for stricter emissions levels?

    bloody brussels, controlled by the environmental lobby..

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  • 8. At 3:40pm on 25 Sep 2008, vagueofgodalming wrote:

    I think it's worth pointing out that India and China stand to suffer more directly than most of Europe from global warming as their main rivers dry up or become erratic.

    They aren't stupid, so they'll come on board.

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  • 9. At 3:46pm on 25 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    #8 - vagueofgodalming

    Which makes it odd that Tata would buy Land Rover and Jaguar - precisely the kind of marques you would expect to be taxed into oblivion in the new situation.

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  • 10. At 3:48pm on 25 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    #7 - benagyerek

    Bloody Brussels - controlled by bloody Strasbourg?

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  • 11. At 4:10pm on 25 Sep 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    Jukka_Rohila @ #3

    I sincerely hope your right. I am, being European and exposed to the constant litany of the Greens and Environmental Campaigners, very much made aware that the Climate is changing and that Eurppopeans have got to do this, that and the other to save the planet.

    However, in my opinion, and we'll have to simply disagree:

    If India and China can find easy markets to sell big gas guzzlers anywhere other than Europe they will not bother to re-jig their plants to just cater for European Green Conscience and environmental sensibilities - they will simply build big and beautiful and not give a fig for the environment. They don't have any climate conscience now and only pay lip service to emission controls so why should they bother to change?

    Because the Europeans care so much about the Environment? Because Europe is leading the way?. . . . I hardly think that any of Europes hyperbole when it comes to Climate Change even bothers the Indians and Chinese - they'll snap up any slack in the market that Europe creates and fill their boots.

    They won't have to sell to Europe as they'll get the lion's share of the rest of the global car market because it really is only Europeans who really pay any attention to the Doom-and-Gloom Merchants of the Environmentalist Brigade.

    Europe can move to building less cars for a niche European market and these cars can be as green as the specialist car manufacturers can make them but this will mean higher costs and less jobs as the Indians and Chinese car manufacturers will be selling big motors to everywhere else outside of Europe.

    Like with cigarettes when the West reduced smoking cigarettes, there is a whole third world out there to sell big inefficient cars to and the buyers in the third world will not want small economical and expensive cars - they will want big, gas-guzzling 4x4s which the Chinese and Indians can provide cheap and cheerfully.

    These EU rules are only effective in Europe and will make little or no difference to Climate Change as the other 90% of the Planet do not care and do nothing to reduce their emissions.

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  • 12. At 4:25pm on 25 Sep 2008, englandcomeon wrote:

    It's about time the German car manufacturers and the German protectionist government was made to sit up and take notice.

    The German motor industry has refused to invest in developing new technologies and now wants to play the EU for another ten years.

    It's a tad cynical and although now there is movement it is only been due to the threat of a watered down EU Directive that caused any movement at all.

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  • 13. At 5:28pm on 25 Sep 2008, tjhinglis wrote:


    Not necessarily, the ERAD programme will see the LRX with emissions of under 120, the Freelander under 150, and the Disco under 170, with MPG of 60+, 50+, and 40+ respectively.

    Presumably Jaguar will gain access to the same tech for their new cars.

    And both will have fully aluminium and electric (once the battery technology is reliable, capacious, and fast charging) models before the affordable end of the market...

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  • 14. At 5:40pm on 25 Sep 2008, nicconnell wrote:


    The Germans have consistently led in new technologies for decades and are certainly working just as hard where green technology is concerned. BMW as an example have been working on clean energy for years and beat the Japanese to the first production Hydrogen car and have electric powertrains in the pipeline. Mercedes are working on the Diesotto engine and also Hybrid technology and I think you'll find VW had the stop start system in production in the 80's Formel E Polos.
    The reason the Germans are fighting hardest is because they are by far the largest nation producing cars in Europe and they own almost all of the other European brands! Fiat and Renault are the only other two and I think you'll find they are just as concerned.
    Refusal to invest in developing technologies? Your talking from an area that's definitely not green

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  • 15. At 5:47pm on 25 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    #13 - tjhinglis

    I understand the technical arguments. Sadly many environmentalists and most politicians do not. Big car equals big pollution, they think.

    Try telling them that a Porche does less damage to the environment than an average family car and they stare blankly. Which is why measures which deal with emissions rather than engine capacity are appropriate.

    Having said that, if you can afford a 'porker', the chances are you can afford the fuel.

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  • 16. At 6:03pm on 25 Sep 2008, alext wrote:

    The effect of this will be to increase costs for larger or more polluting costs, but favour more efficient cars.

    This is good news for Peugot, Renault and Fiat, and bad for Mercedes, BMW and Porsche. Hence the German opposition. Yes people might be persuaded to buy a Renault instead of a BMW, but environmentally, that's no bad thing. And BMW is working very hard to improve.

    As for favouring imports, European cars tend to be ahead of others in terms of efficiency. So jobs wise this is probably good for everywhere except Germany and Sweden, and perhaps the UK, as we make so many Japanese cars which don't have the best diesel engines.

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  • 17. At 6:10pm on 25 Sep 2008, bionicbadger wrote:

    Perhaps you'd like to spell "lose" correctly in the 9th paragraph?

    "... we loose jobs and the environment suffers ..."

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  • 18. At 6:15pm on 25 Sep 2008, grimble wrote:

    Sorry Mark, we don't "loose" jobs, we "lose" them...

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  • 19. At 6:17pm on 25 Sep 2008, frenchderek wrote:

    Sorry to repeat what I've said before on this subject. The manufacturers are simply buying time. They all have in the pipeline,or are currently working on more fuel-efficient / carbon-efficient cars. It's just that they want to be ready before the new regulations hit.

    Mercedes have said they will soon be ready to offer hybrids on some of their vehicles - the rest will follow. BMW, VW and others already have "cleaner" models available (not the whole range though). Even Honda and Toyota (leaders in the hybrids, each being on their second update) don't cover the full range yet.

    As far as I'm concerned, hydrogen-power is not energy-efficient over the whole life: ie from manufacture to disposal. I'm not even sure that the carbon exhaust model is really soundly-based ecologically.

    We'll get there, eventually, I hope: and the only job-losses will be due to the more usual cause: "efficiency" - ie cost- reductions (which means staff). 'Twas ever thus.

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  • 20. At 6:26pm on 25 Sep 2008, Nullius123 wrote:

    Three cheers for MM - one of the best journalists the BBC has ever had. He nicely combines sharp observation with a slice of sardonic humour - a skill that is both refreshing and reliable.

    As for the car lobby - too bad for them. The playing field is level - no one has an advantage. The health of Europeans comes before car companies' profits. There is no good technical reason why we shouldn't all be driving fuel efficient cars.

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  • 21. At 6:31pm on 25 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Menedemus#11, re India and China.

    No idea ab Indian cars (who's ever seen an Indian car?) but China builds cars like crazy and sells into Russia.

    And all their cars are awful, only extraordinary poor and break-neck Russians buy them.
    Not because of emissions, but because their metal is thin like cigarette paper, and they crample like a piece of paper in your hand in a clash. And everything there is plastic where metal should be, and all cracks in the frost and falls into pieces.

    What I mean is they have big image problem.
    Russia buys German and European cars.
    Our own cars are disaster.

    If Europe builds small and healthier cars, on top of being reliable, we'll buy them gladly.

    It matters what Russia drives, for the quality of air in Europe.

    The only thing that prevents all Russians to run and buy all cars there are in Europe is hilariously high tax for import of foreign cars. 40% plus. Kremlin protects local disastrous car industry.

    When/if we join WTO, Russia will rush after European cars like mad.

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  • 22. At 6:32pm on 25 Sep 2008, Dickie524 wrote:

    I'm not sure about your comments regarding the environmental credentials and the need to get 'older, more polluting' cars off the road as soon as possible.

    It takes far more energy to manufacture a new car than it will ever use up over its lifetime - so yes, if you measure the air immediately behind the exhaust pipe, a new car might be slightly less polluting - but not when you look at the energy that has been used up manufacturing a brand new car unneccesarily.

    The bulk of the energy is involved in melting down metal to cast engine blocks and to roll body panels - not how much petrol it uses up as it goes along. So do as little of this as possible - run your older car, save on the manufacture of a new one, and reduce emissions from 'industry'.

    Oh, and by the way - a car without a cataltytic converter produces less CO2 than a car with one. And has anyone calculated how much energy it takes to mine and refine all that platinum for all these new catalytic converters?

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  • 23. At 6:48pm on 25 Sep 2008, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Having removed the nuclear power option and actively campaigning against coal-powered alternatives, hard-core Enviro-fascists, supported legions of deluded believers in MMCG, have now successfully hobbled Germany's magnificent automotive industry.

    When the Germans wake up they might be a bit angry.

    The good news is that this anger may be directed at the ever encroaching EU.

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  • 24. At 7:29pm on 25 Sep 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    I see the Pedants are out in force and in stereo at #17 and #18

    Winston Churchill was once informed that one should not end a sentence with a preposition. His response was, "That is the sort of arrogant pedantry up with which I will not put."

    Some may have to think through his response to see what he was trying to prove.

    Pedants for the English Language can look overly obsessive concerning small details when the rest of the world understands the meaning of the words written or spoken.

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  • 25. At 7:46pm on 25 Sep 2008, Freeborn John wrote:

    Environmental standards have long been used as a protectionist device. Cars are driven all over the world but it is no accident that it is those countries where they are made that do the most to set the standards. The German car lobby would like nothing better than to keep out lower cost vehicles made in the USA or Asia from its markets. However they only need the EU standard to be a little higher than elsewhere in the world to act as a protective barrier and not so high as to impose major costs that would result in sales of their bigger cars losing out to smaller French and Italian-made vehicles. So what we are seeing here is really a battle between producer interests. We in Britain do not have a dog in that fight. Our interest should be a balance between clean air and low cost motoring. One only has to at the vastly higher prices paid for vehicles (and much else) in Europe to see that the consumer interest is systematically underrepresented by Brussels.

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  • 26. At 8:01pm on 25 Sep 2008, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    I do not see what the problem is - many European car makers already produce lower emission cars.

    OK so not hyper performance cars for men to buy to make up for something lacking in their lives but quite suitable and even luxurious 5 door hatchbacks, saloons and estate cars.

    I have just switched from a super-mini outputting 185 g/kilometre (90bhp) to a physically larger estate that outputs 119 g/kilometre with the same 90bhp. All the gadgets - auto lights and wipers, climate control air con, cruise control, speed limiter, electric windows all round, electronic stability control and ABS and full leather with a price point to match (and I dare say a manufacturers profit too).

    I am not a petrol-head mainly because the roads are too crowded now (I have been driving over 40 years.) My new car (arrived last week from the dealer) seems fine to me and as I spend most of my time driving on very crowded roads I just do not see the point of a high performance car (I have owned some in the past (3000 between services!))

    Than manufacturers, mainly it must be said the German manufacturers, need to get their act together and produce more of the lower emission (and luxury low emission) cars they can produce and less of the pointless limousine style of armoured car.

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  • 27. At 8:12pm on 25 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    #2 - Dickie524

    "Oh, and by the way - a car without a cataltytic converter produces less CO2 than a car with one."

    Yes of course it does. It coverts it from highly toxic Carbon Monoxide. That's the whole point. Actually, palladium is more commonly used than platinum. Over 50% of that comes from northern Russia and the processing produces large amounts of sulphur dioxide resulting in acid rain. There are no easy answers.

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  • 28. At 8:20pm on 25 Sep 2008, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To WebAliceinwonderland (21):

    Many European cars are already assembled in Russia. BMW has a factory in Kaliningrad. Volkswagen opened a factory in Kaluga last year. Toyota, Renault, Ford and Kia have Russian factories too and Nissan is building a one in St. Peterburg. These however are concentrated on assembling parts not manufacturing them. At current investment climate in Russia there it will take considerable time for western companies to invest more to Russia. Besides exporting an industrial supply network that matches western ones just takes incredible amount of time and money.

    However I think it matters more to air quality in Europe how Russia handles forest fires. Almost in every year in recent past forest fires in Russia have spread smoke to Finland and Baltic states. Sometimes in Helsinki it has been just horrible as there has been so much smoke coming from the forest fires.

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  • 29. At 8:28pm on 25 Sep 2008, kindfluffysteve wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 30. At 8:52pm on 25 Sep 2008, mullerman wrote:

    I cycle.

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  • 31. At 9:04pm on 25 Sep 2008, Jayanthony wrote:

    "...And of course if people keep their older, more polluting cars on the roads for longer nobody gains, we loose jobs and the environment suffers as well."

    It is all very good for the car industry to tell us that junking old cars and buying new ones is good for the enviroment but how is it greener to dispose of a car and then build a new one to replace it?

    As well as the energy consumed in use we also need to know how much isused during manufacture and the longevity of the vehicle (How long before its needs to be replaced.) This would make old cars greener than new ones.

    The car industry has a vested interest in selling us new vehicles otherwise it would slowly die.

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  • 32. At 9:23pm on 25 Sep 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    Is it me or are the people who are more green than algae blinkered to the fact that the car industries of France, Germany and Italy or Spain cannot simply survive on selling small, environment-friendly, but expensive-to-produce cars solely to the European market.

    If Indian and Chinese cars are cheaper to buy elsewhere in the world then elsewhere in the world will buy cheap Indian and Chinese cars.

    Expensive-to-build cars made in Europe are going to be very welcome in Europe because they are environment-friendly but the rest of the world is just going to laugh at the prices of European cars.

    When the European car manufacturers figure it out they will see that actually having their cars made for less outside Europe is more economic and selling to the rest of the world more lucrative - they will then simply move their manufacturing bases and forego selling into Europe.

    The trouble with that is that the pollutants in the rest of the world are going to kill me even if there are no pollutants generated in Europe.

    My polluting existing car will just have to last me until I die I guess because I'll never be able to afford that new bright shiny environmentally-friendly car I always wanted to buy.

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  • 33. At 9:29pm on 25 Sep 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    anti-green nutters?

    Now there is an insult I have not heard from a green-delusionist before! ;-)

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  • 34. At 9:51pm on 25 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    To 28, Jukka Rohila, af forest fires in Russia.

    Dear Jukka surely I understand you are concerned Finland being so nearby. So the smoke you had prev. summers (not this one, and not very much the prev. one) came from me in St. Petersburg!

    Jukka these were not forest fires. I have asthma I hardly lived through them myself. It was peat, huge peatbogs burning - in fact, by my dacha, here on the way to Finland.
    Nobody could do anything, they burn underground! catch fire in hot summers somehow by themselves, and you can't extinguish them, so deep underground in the marshes all takes place, and spreads underground. All you see on the surface is choking white smoke, and not a glimpse of fire. Surely they try to damp them, but until first good rain... This summer was watery, so thank god nothing of the kind.

    I went and stayed for hours in the supermarket with air-conditioning. Didn't know what to do. Bough face masks in the pharmacy. And tried to attach the face-mask onto the cat! And put wet bedsheets and linen on the windows and doors.

    I wish someone figures the way what to do with bogs. Currently they stay empty, only transfer bird from Africa sit there and live for a while, it's a bird-migration place. Maybe when poor birds will be kicked out, and those bogs build up by houses - that's when it'll end.
    However in USSR times this strangely didn't happen....? Somebody forgot how the bogs were managed before?

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  • 35. At 10:34pm on 25 Sep 2008, Leftie wrote:

    Everywhere there's size inflation. Look at the cars of the sixties, they're so much smaller than today! Nor were they so powerful. We've learnt to prefer upsize ourselves.

    What's happened is that manufacturers have exploited 'size' as a leading criteria for securing consumers' choices. So car buyers want bigger cars to demonstrate their own importance. We all fall for this love of size and power, and it's helping to kill our planet in the process. We simply must break this bad habit.

    Sometimes market forces fail to deliver the optimum solution and sensible intervention is needed. In this case all European manufacturers need the intervention of MEPs to secure the obvious requirement. We simply MUST actively discourage all large cars off the roads as quickly as we can, and for all our sakes.

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  • 36. At 11:12pm on 25 Sep 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    Meanwhile, back in the other 90% of the world . . . . .

    People will inflate their cars and pollute the atmosphere and laugh at the Europeans with their small, very expensive but ever-so-environmentally-friendly cars that actually cost more to build in terms of energy consumption and costs for research and development.

    The rest of the world will be laughing as the Brazilian and Indonesian Rain Forests are cleared and burnt irretrievably, the Indians and Chinese take over the massive third world car market to meet the demand for cheap vehicles, I will continue to be bombarded with more subliminal messaging about how much more I can do to save the planet or more legislation will be introduced to just restrain Europe and its citizens more and more under the guise of "sensible intervention".

    Have the Europeans all gone bonkers and lost all vestiges of common sense?

    Helloooo!! Is there anyone left in Europe who has not lost all their marbles?

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  • 37. At 11:39pm on 25 Sep 2008, mysteriousSgtWilko wrote:

    I think that the Euro parliament have got this one completely wrong.

    I work for one of the largest American car companies in the world - I won't say which but it has a blue coloured badge : )

    Firstly, this isn't a German driven fued against the EU. Motor companies are all based on being global providers and all share the same goals - making higher quality cars and ensuring profit. A few things that ought to be taken into consideration - car companies share technology across the board, in this instance emissions are the issue so this relates to the engine. Most companies share and develop engines together, so it is highly likely that the engine in your car has been either jointly or wholly developed by another car company. This allows car companies to compete and operate profitably. Without this you end up in an unsustainable position and cannot afford to develop new technology.

    This decision will mean that emissions gain importance over issues such as driver safety (Euro NCAP ratings etc.) The US led brands (and remember their EU arm is completely managed out of EU and not US) are hemorraging money (many billions) year by year. They have lost 30% - 40% of work force and new and emerging sources of labour (Asia, Eastern Europe) almost certainly offer the only opportunity for car companies in the EU market. Result: loss of jobs across EU. A car is the second most expensive purchase most people make after buying a house. For this reason, it is not only jobs in the car companies that are at threat. It's not just the jobs of the hard working guys on the line - it's marketing, IT, product development engineers, dealers, spare parts, garages, credit organisations (most cars are bought on credit).

    Now I'm not saying that the car companies can't meet the targets. They can and they will. However, there's a cost - they cannot meet this regulation and still pay EU workers and charge the same cost for cars. The cost of cars will rise as a result of this. Jobs (many thousands) will be also be lost. People will not be able to afford new, more economically, more green efficient cars, so they will keep their more polluting vehicles. This increased cost is then passed onto consumers - this includes all transport, whether it be the truck that delivers Tesco products, taxis, ambulances, police cars etc. And of course all this cost is passed onto the consumer and tax payer.

    Sure, this is an edict that affects the car manufacturing industry. But more importantly affects the people who need to drive to do their day to day business - to go to work, to take their children to school, to meet family members.

    It's not very green, it doesn't make much sense and will mean social and financial heartache for the average person, whether it be employee or consumer.

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  • 38. At 00:04am on 26 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    #37 - mysteriousSgtWilko

    Good news. Someone who knows their subject writing good common sense.

    Just a thought and I would welcome your view.

    I think your company has a very significant share of the fleet and lease markets. A large proportion of this market are able to offset a proportion of their costs against tax and many replace their vehicles after three years.

    Would it be practical to phase in the new requirements so that business markets would phase in the changes first so softening the blow on private motorists. Quite a lot of ex-fleet vehicles find their way into the private market later anyway so it could produce benefits all round, asy on a five year cycle.

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  • 39. At 00:05am on 26 Sep 2008, Bulwinder wrote:

    Mark, could you please confirm whether or not the target for car manufacturers is dependent on the average weight of their vehicles. The draft legislation defines a limit value curve of permitted emissions of CO2 for new vehicles according to the mass of the vehicle.

    According to the EU website and my analysis the target ranges from 122g/km for Fiat to 144g/km for Porsche.

    I haven't been able to come to a conclusion whether this 'limit value curve' is a good thing or not. Surely, the idea is to reduce carbon emissions - and an obvious way of doing so it by persuading people to drive a smaller car.

    However, surely a heavy car emitting 150g/km and carrying three people is more efficient than three 130g/km cars carrying one person each.

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  • 40. At 00:37am on 26 Sep 2008, ephialtes wrote:

    I think people complaining that the rules are harmful because the EU is too small to matter have the wrong end of the stick. The UK would be too small on its own, but with other European nations is plenty big enough to make a difference to carmakers in India and China. It's not like the Chinese and Indian middle classes (or anyone else) will be able to afford gas-guzzlers for much longer anyway, with the way oil prices are going.

    And while we're at it, I don't think that most Germans would say that environmental pressure groups were "hard-core Enviro-fascists", particularly given the large Green contingent in the Bundestag and Germany's history of tight environmental restrictions, large installed base of wind and solar power, etc. etc.

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  • 41. At 00:55am on 26 Sep 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    mysteriousSgtWilko @37

    Some sanity.

    Thank goodness for your presence, common sense and comments.

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  • 42. At 00:56am on 26 Sep 2008, stwl wrote:

    If it's still true that the manufacture of cars generates more emissions than their use, given a typical life-span, surely the car industry's problems run deeper than emissions targets? In effect, they're making a product which it may not be responsible to make any more. Every unit they produce causes substantial environmental damage even before it is driven.

    On this view, the whole emissions question is a smokescreen. The car industry believes that people can be persuaded to junk their current cars and buy new, seduced by misleading emissions calculations (and misleading rhetoric such as Martin Callanan's remarks about old cars being too polluting).

    Is it in fact the case that the environmentally conscious solution - no new cars until the manufacturing process is green and the emissions are low - is so unpalatable economically that it's a non-starter? Will the proposed solution actually damage the environment further by boosting sales of new cars, and hence manufacturing? And do the authors of the legislation care about this, or are they simply out to bat for the interests of, say, Peugeot against BMW?

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  • 43. At 01:01am on 26 Sep 2008, stwl wrote:

    Bizarrely, there's an analogy with motor racing. What is the best strategy for lowering emissions: a 'no-stop', in which you keep the same car until it breaks down, a 'one-stop' in which you buy a new car at some point, or more frequent purchases to take advantage of technlogical advances?

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  • 44. At 01:38am on 26 Sep 2008, mysteriousSgtWilko wrote:

    i think that all new posts are on hold?

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  • 45. At 01:43am on 26 Sep 2008, mysteriousSgtWilko wrote:

    i think i might have been blocked. sorry guys.

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  • 46. At 01:52am on 26 Sep 2008, mysteriousSgtWilko wrote:

    BBC Moderators: why have you blocked my posts? I'm sure it doesn't break the house rules.

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  • 47. At 02:20am on 26 Sep 2008, mysteriousSgtWilko wrote:

    35 made a comment about size of vehicles and the good old times of the 60's. Let me set the record straight. The cars of today pollute less than 10% of the cars in the 60's. The Mini was heavily pollutant. As with life, size is not important! We're talking about emissions and that means the engine. It doesn't matter how big the car is, it's the engine that counts in this argument. If you can get an engine to deliver 70 mpg (and yes they are available right now in EU), that means less pollutant per mile. The size of the vehicle is weight which means it is harder to accelerate. Honestly, if you want to do the environment a favour buy a 2008 Land Rover rather than a 1980's mini. And this is the main problem I have. 35 makes a comment that I'm sure the majority agree with, namely big is bad, we should go small and I think the EU have thought this way also. It's the wrong way to look at it. A modern 1.8 litre diesel will be better for the environment than an old 1.4 petrol engine. For all new cars you can get an environmental rating that is exactly the same as if you were buying a freezer or a TV. If you want to be green, check the rating, and don't just assume that small means good. Bottom line, if it's good for your pocket (fuel wise) then it's good for the environment.

    We should encourage people to buy more efficent and less polluting cars, rather than try to limit emissions. Let's spend money on subsidising the greener cars and spending money on public transport. I live in Essex, my Mum is in Yorkshire. If I need to go there tomorrow, I can either pay £35 by car or buy a train ticket for £100 (single). The car is quicker and cheaper. That's the problem - it shouldn't be a case of essentially laying the blame at the car companies is unfair.

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  • 48. At 03:50am on 26 Sep 2008, docscipark wrote:

    There are new engines coming through, such as the UK designed (the late Dr. Joe Ehrlich) Environmental Engine.
    Saves 50% of emissions, particularly lowering NOx by 67%, CO2 by 20% - more if LPG is the fuel, up to 40%.
    All of the parameters of the engine can be varied.

    This new “variable motion” engine, under construction, is a huge advance in combustion engineering. Yet it is a very simple alteration to existing practices, costing about the same as variable valve timing. The pistons in the engine can “dwell” at top and bottom dead centre for better combustion, plus the compression ratio is variable, by 2 say 9 to 18. These are the “holy grails” of combustion engineering.

    The work is being done in UK so there is hope of an interesting and cleaner future for motoring.
    Clearly, the engine can use any fuel which is available and that may become the issue.
    Whichever fuel, it typically uses 10% less on the road, 33% less in the lab.

    Motor on!

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  • 49. At 04:06am on 26 Sep 2008, cczmark wrote:

    It's quite simple. Voluntary emission targets for motor manufacturers have not worked as they have not been met. The high price of fossil fuel has recently forced them to up their game but legislation is the only sure way to get the absolutely required results. The sooner we can get off our oil-junkie habit the better.

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  • 50. At 04:07am on 26 Sep 2008, roba_oz wrote:

    Much of the debate about vehicle emissions seems to be centred on the need to reduce the CO2 output per kilometre travelled, which is fair comment as far as it goes. However, what is really important as far as both greenhouse gas pollution and fossil fuel consumption is concerned is the need to reduce the CO2 output per year.
    Forcing manufacturers to produce vehicles that have lower emissions is all very well in itself, but doing so in too hasty a manner will almost inevitably mean higher prices, less satisfactory technology and fewer sales, in which case it will have had something of a symbolic outcome.
    My observation of people who purchase the more expensive fuel-efficient cars is that they tend to be people who don't use them to travel great distances for work or leisure. Finding ways to help the majority of people reduce annual distances travelled is probably the most helpful thing that can be done, but it also probably means greater public expenditure on mass transport systems, which, ironically enough, can't be turned around in short periods of time, either.
    There's also the question of replacing fossil fuels with renewables, and, although that's another topic worthy of discussion in its own right, it's another one that's fraught with misleading information and prone to symbolism, too.

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  • 51. At 04:30am on 26 Sep 2008, Gheryando wrote:

    A move like that harms our car industries compared to other car industries in the US, India, China and Japan. The limits should be global.

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  • 52. At 04:54am on 26 Sep 2008, ST1050S wrote:

    We will soon see a bigger increase in uninsured, non MOT'd and non taxed vehicles on the road as motorists will be spending their "hard earned cash" on the day to day living but have the need to own their cars any only pay out what they have to, ie, fuel to keep it running, servicing, etc will be done less due to the expense so more economical and less expensive travel will become more expensive and more polluting !!

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  • 53. At 06:57am on 26 Sep 2008, Rob_Hob2 wrote:

    Can someone provide proof or references for the claim that manufacturing a new car emits more CO2 than is released by driving it through its lifetime?

    The EU should be researching affordable Electric plug in cars, leading the technology so it can be sold everywhere and anywhere... 1st or 3rd world. Running a car on electricity, even if its from coal fired power stations, produces less CO2. Hence combining large capacity batteries with engines would reduce average emissions... and with the price of fuel going up, may even induce the Chinese and Indians to buy them from Europe.

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  • 54. At 08:01am on 26 Sep 2008, Buzet23 wrote:


    well said and your conclusion is spot on.

    I'm just wondering if the mandarin's of the EU might do the same to the MEP's that they're doing to the Irish over Lisbon. Can we now look forward to this policy being reintroduced to the MEP's until they "get it right" and stop shooting everybody in the foot.

    Finally to those 'green' thought police that are polluting our countries with their fanatical opinions and objecting to everything imaginable since none of you can ever agree as to what is actually so called "green". My local commune is building 8 wind turbines producing 2 megawatts each, the towers stand 90 metres high, were they to have installed turbines 140 metres high they would be able to produce 6 megawatts each and whilst they would have cost twice as much they would produce three times the output. I suspect the decision to install the lower spec was more down to green and NIMBY views than logic, so please give it a rest over car emissions and all that.

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  • 55. At 08:21am on 26 Sep 2008, Wonthillian wrote:

    The fact is that most cars are still bigger and thirstier than they need to be. Sorry, but you do not need an obese 4x4 to take your kids to school . If you want capacity, you can buy a people carrier but you do not need a 3.5 litre engine to power it. Despite recent rises in fuel prices, people are still using their cars unnecessarily for short journeys, so maybe fuel prices aren't high enough?

    Unlike pollutant emissions, CO2 emissions are directly related to fuel consumption so by buying a lower CO2 emitting car you are also buying a car that consumes less fuel. Fuel prices will continue on an upward trend - that's as certain as death and taxes, and the more prices rise, the greater will be the general realisation that it doesn't take long to pay back the (possible) extra initial cost of a fuel-efficient car though fuel saving.

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  • 56. At 09:48am on 26 Sep 2008, bena gyerek wrote:

    mark, can we have a discussion on ireland's recession? i would like to know people's opinions about how the current financial turmoil may affect the debate in europe.

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  • 57. At 10:00am on 26 Sep 2008, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    "As well as the energy consumed in use we also need to know how much is used during manufacture and the longevity of the vehicle. "

    Spot on!

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  • 58. At 10:00am on 26 Sep 2008, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    Greens advicte building new cars and chucking old one's THATS NOT EVEN GREEN!

    What they should be doing is retro-fitting older cars with cleaner engines.

    In the Economic down turn we are now facing, few of us would even be able to afford that let alone buy a new car

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  • 59. At 10:04am on 26 Sep 2008, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    If we had wanted a Green Government that badly were would have voted for the Green Party.
    Government Talk Green, Tax Green, Do Nothing

    There is a need to find a more sustainable human lifestyle.

    Building new cars and scraping old ones will not help.

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  • 60. At 10:35am on 26 Sep 2008, betuli wrote:

    Call me radical, but I'd very much limit the individual use of cars inside the EU.

    We have seen a ferocious campaign against the aviation on the grounds of climate changing, no matter planes are a public means of transport.

    Paradoxically it's still possible acrross Europe to freely drive a car and expel carbon dioxide on the face of pedestrians or cyclists.

    Jobs in the car industry? That's nothing compared with the big deal of polution cars cause. Cycle and recycle.

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  • 61. At 10:39am on 26 Sep 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    #59, WhiteEnglishProud,

    Your statement "Government Talk Green, Tax Green, Do Nothing" is exactly what is happening, governments throughout the EU are using the dreaded "Green" word as an excuse to prise more tax revenue out of the gullible green eco-fascists and the rest of us are shouted down as being non-green and just have to pay up. Time to put the green lobby where they belong, anyone got any ideas of a suitably remote place they can save without damaging us any further?

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  • 62. At 10:44am on 26 Sep 2008, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    Isn't it really about efficiency, not just CO2 emissions?

    My new car claims 72 mpg on the open road (I will never be able to test this as I do not live in a country with open roads!) OK so it has a lowish (119 g/km emissions) But shouldn't even the most dyed in the wool petrol head want to make the most efficient use of petrol/diesel? (see #26 above)

    Or should we encourage burning petrol for fun?

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  • 63. At 11:04am on 26 Sep 2008, MaxSceptic wrote:

    61. At 10:39am on 26 Sep 2008, Buzet23 @61 asks:

    "...anyone got any ideas of a suitably remote place they [the green lobby] can save without damaging us any further?"

    As a learned judge once said about recidivist delinquent product of the English underclass: I think that they should be put to work in the agricultural sector. As fertiliser.

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  • 64. At 11:08am on 26 Sep 2008, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 65. At 11:10am on 26 Sep 2008, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 66. At 11:13am on 26 Sep 2008, The Realist wrote:

    These manufacturers are doing everything possible to not make their cars cleaner. The truth is they do not want to spend a single penny, just rake in super-massive profits off a century old technology!

    The MEPs need to get even tougher than this, they should outllaw petrol and diesel engines by 2012. Thats 4 years time to get power cells into cars, loads of time in a multi-trillion dollar industry. It can be done easily, and without job cuts at least to European and Asian car manufacturers.

    I am sorry for workers of American car manfacturers but your employers appear to be in trouble unrelated to this but they will be bought out by European and Japanese car makers anyway so you will still be in work but with better working conditions.

    So, come on europe... you have the power to change the motor world for the first time in your history. Get everyone, and force the USA, off of the fossil fuels for motors by 2012!

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  • 67. At 12:00pm on 26 Sep 2008, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Mighty Morfa Power Ranger (66):

    Having more eco-friendlier cars and partly an issue of lack of technology and partly an issue of lack of infrastructure.

    The technological problems that keep us using largely fossils fuels are: 1) manufacturing hydrogen with electrolyze is currently where inefficient and needs lots of lots of energy and 2) manufacturing a fuel cell needs 2,5 times the energy that the cell will provide in its whole lifetime, and 3) batteries don't last and don't hold enough energy.

    Now lets say that for some miracle we could get few of the technical items solved, still we would face problems in infrastructure. Be it electric cars or hydrogen cars, we need more electricity and even now electricity is in scarce and in many European countries electricity is produced with fossil fuels, by moving on to clean cars we would only move the pollution problem into upstream.

    If we really would want to clean our environment and stop polluting CO2 emissions, we could do that even today, but there is no political will to do that. Shell lectured about 7 years ago in my alma mater about their vision on moving to hydrogen economy before 2050. Car companies have working hydrogen engines and can build hydrogen cars: in example BMW has also introduced a demonstration hybrid hydrogen-gasoline 7 -series limousine. The problem is that until we build huge amounts of new nuclear plants and drop the price of electricity much lower than it is, there is no economical reason to move on to hydrogen based economy.

    So if you want to stop or at least decrease our CO2 emissions the first thing is to choose politicians that accept nuclear power and are ready to give permits to companies to build it more.

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  • 68. At 1:08pm on 26 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    #47 - mysteriousSgtWilko

    Your final paragraph makes the essential point. I had a period of commuting between Southampton and Birmingham. The train was far more comfortable and less stressful but it cost well over three times as much as driving.

    (The final nail in the coffin was the ban on smoking - long before it became law. I can understand buses and planes but it was perfectly practical to segregate we 'lepers' on trains).

    But the key point was cost. Now, living in Hungary, I can travel on public transport at about the same price as driving. On the rare occasions a car is necessary, I can borrow one (all vehicles insured for all drivers) or rent one. I recently did one of these online carbon footprint tests and was only marginally higher than someone in Kenya. It is all down to not having a car since nothing else has changed - except that I have given up flying in Europe. That is when I do drive. It is cheaper, greener, far more convenient (and I can have a fag).

    And that is really my final point. Over long distances, driving is not only a good way to travel but it is actually quite green. It is short journeys - especially in cities with lots of waiting at traffic lights, gear changing and accelerating that is most damaging and usually unnecessary. Changing car design will not have a significant impact unless you also change driving habits. I think most modern standard production cars are at their most efficient cruising at around 60 mph. That is when they are useful.

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  • 69. At 2:11pm on 26 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    To Buzet23 #61
    "Time to put green lobby where they belong"

    On a car-unrelated subject I am very blood-thirsty about the actions taken by the "green" in the EU.

    15 yrs I inhaled asthma inhalers where the base used was freon. Lived very well. Freon is a gas, human lungs like gasses. Oxygen air mix smth is also a gas.

    Then freon in asthma "psshh" was cancelled as spoiling the ozone layer, making holes in it and resulting in global warming.

    Re-placed by spirit base, alcohol, something "....ethanol".
    At best people now get dry cough from the new inhalers, because spirit irritates air ways.
    At worst is like in my case, allergic to alcohol, you inhale to widen air-ways and instead all squeeses and blocks.

    Old asthma inhalers based on freon, outdated, became top of desires and hunted after by asthmatics. Those who got the angle, being part of var. societies, attending asthma school classes, etc.

    Many simply don't know still, why new inhalers "don't help as before." Producers state that "the active ingerdient is exactly as before." Doctors keep to the same idea.
    People en masse simply decided that
    "I became more old, my asthma became worse."

    What costed before 10 dollars, freon-based ones, I was buying from hands for 200. Until they became unavailable for no money.

    That the atmosphere is saved at the cost of people, who can't breathe anyway - is hilarious. I find it most disgusting.

    The German maker of popular inhalers, who I phoned to find out if there is any hope - replied that "no, we can't make good ones on the new base". Told me their laboratories stopped the tests, because "molecula-s are dying in spirit vapours ! against the laws of nature".

    The Germans said they received 1 million calls from desperate asthmatics in 2 years.
    But they can't do anything "ask your Government, why they signed this paper."

    Said that if they will violate the new EU laws and produce inhalers on freon as before - they will be suject to horrible fines.

    Advised to look for inhalers in the countries who haven't signed some environment treaty or something. USA or "Asian tigers."

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  • 70. At 2:32pm on 26 Sep 2008, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    Cars with guns on top and tracks instead of wheels are produced within and out side the E.U. As far as i know they are not subject to these new rules.
    Now 30 of them which were made in the Ukrane a prespective E.U and NATO member have gone missing on the sea stolen by Pirates. They were headed to sudan according to BBC news.
    Surely they produce lots of green house gasses compared to normal cars.
    Why is no-one questioning why the Ukraine was sell Cars with guns and tracks for wheels to a country with the Human rights history of Sudan

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  • 71. At 2:35pm on 26 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    #69 - WebAliceinwonderland

    Hi Alice,

    Freon propellant has now also been banned in the States. I am doing a bit of research into this but I am finding info about dry powder inhalers which are presumably alcohol free. I will email tomorrow.

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  • 72. At 2:42pm on 26 Sep 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    #69. WebAliceinwonderland,

    Sorry to hear that but it doesn't surprise me one bit, it's the sign of all true fanatics that everything in their path must be removed for them to achieve their holy mission, and it applies to the eco-fascists perfectly. They don't give a monkeys about human or even animal life in their quest to save the planet. Their arguments are so flawed that they're not worth wasting the time to listen to them and I'm waiting for the day nature will prove most of their claims to be way off beam as it usually does to scientists.

    Until then I think you're right, look for it in a so called third world country, but I wouldn't recommend China as if the scare with Milk is typical of their company practices, maybe they're doing that with other products as well.

    PS. to all you "greenies", I've heard recently about clean coal, eco cars but so far nothing about a clean cow. The Times had an article about this a year ago and said "They have become the fashionable target for environmentalists, but four-wheel-drive vehicles may be less damaging to the environment than the cows and sheep essential to the rural economy.
    The methane emissions from both ends of cattle and sheep are causing so much concern in government that it has ordered researchers to find ways to cut down on the emissions from livestock, which account for about a quarter of the methane – a greenhouse gas 20 times more powerful at driving global warming than carbon dioxide – pumped into the atmosphere in Britain. Each day every one of Britain’s 10 million cows pumps out an estimated 100-200 litres of methane. "

    Um, Ah, I will just keep on driving my thirteen year old banger and s#d the eco-fascists.

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  • 73. At 2:46pm on 26 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    #70 - WhiteEnglishProud

    Maybe the guns are considered more dangerous than the CO2 emissions?

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  • 74. At 3:05pm on 26 Sep 2008, coniac wrote:

    credit crunch and climate change
    which of my children do I have to kill..

    an interesting opinion

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  • 75. At 3:12pm on 26 Sep 2008, betuli wrote:

    sooner or later anyone driving an engine vehicle will have to pay a congestion charge.

    This tax should be destined to improve public transport and to tackle respiratory diseases.

    Only people living in remote areas could be free of charge in order to drive.

    I already made my option long time ago: I use only my feet, my bicycle and public transport.

    This is just common sense and a matter of time, nothing to do with any sort of radicalism.

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  • 76. At 3:20pm on 26 Sep 2008, coniac wrote:

    it will be nice of you, if you let people click on the link ..

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  • 77. At 3:31pm on 26 Sep 2008, Pawyilee wrote:

    The biggest blow to car manufacturers mentioned so far, is that Russian bogs are on fire.

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  • 78. At 3:41pm on 26 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    #76 - coniac wrote:

    "it will be nice of you, if you let people click on the link .."

    You can. Click HERE for Ed Ingleharts tutorial on how to do it.

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  • 79. At 3:43pm on 26 Sep 2008, coniac wrote:

    this is not a 1 way blog, it was just an youtube link

    Mark, we know each other for few years now, can we just be friends?

    this is the link

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  • 80. At 3:46pm on 26 Sep 2008, MaxSceptic wrote:

    News today that Somali pirates have captured a Ukrainian ship delivering tanks to the murderous Sudanis.

    Nice. By its actions one could question whether the Ukraine is really well-suited be a member of the EU.

    There is, of course, an argument to be made that such behaviour demonstrates that the Ukraine will blend in very well.... (or is that too cynical?)

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  • 81. At 3:59pm on 26 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    threnodio darling thank you very much.
    So - USA banned freon inhalers as well!
    Even them. Where the world is going to.

    I know of dry powder base asthma inhalers, as min. here - very small choice of them (3).

    That's the pharmacy industries' reply to the asthmatics choking after freon was re-placed with ethanol (alcohol) and poliethylenglikol (antifreeze).

    Though most medical institutions still brazenly insist that "ethanol and antifreeze are good for you", "imagine how freon is making nasty holes in the atmosphere!"
    "it only seems to you you are choking",
    but the very quantity of people who suddenly began behaving like fish on shore, made to search for new things.

    In fact we are back to the stone age. Inhaling powder was what was done in the beg of the 20th century, when nobody had any inhalers.

    Powder is not gas. It never goes deep enough into the lungs, but settles closer to the throat. But what to do. Better than nothing. Because ozone holes, you know, of paramount importance to all of us.

    Buzet23 - Good point about cows! Scary to think that having done with asthmatics, they'll start on cows! Some plugs?! just wait and see!
    I always thought that in one old-fashioned fridge, thrown out to the garbage lot in any nice country like Russia +200 others, from the list of? 228? in the world,
    that in any 1 such fridge there is freon enough for a city of asthmatics, to put into their inhalers, to last them half-a year!

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  • 82. At 4:02pm on 26 Sep 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    #75, Betuli,

    Are you Gordon Brown in disguise, trying to test the water to see how you can screw the taxpayer even more whilst wasting the money on other pet projects, because that's what your post sounds like as never ever will the majority of money raised by such measures get spent on the roads or respiratory diseases. I've yet to see any of these green taxes get used for the designated reason, normally it's a small part of the revenue raised.

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  • 83. At 4:09pm on 26 Sep 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    #80 MaxSceptic,

    Usually when you hear stories like this the French are involved somehow, and since they are in that area of Africa who knows, maybe that's why not much is being said so far.

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  • 84. At 4:11pm on 26 Sep 2008, coniac wrote:


    is that magic or PC?

    Mark , relax - we are friends

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  • 85. At 4:25pm on 26 Sep 2008, betuli wrote:

    Buzet 82,

    Don't panic, I'm not Brown, don't even like him: he's too much right-wing oriented for my taste.

    Just to remind that your co-religionist Boris Johnson, now in power, has no intention to withdraw the congestion charge in London after years of persistent criticism against it.

    Manchester will be the next to embrace the congestion and the British government is planning to charge you if you take your car onto the roads of your native island. So mind you.

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  • 86. At 4:30pm on 26 Sep 2008, coniac wrote:


    you are wasting your post
    as long you don't write a blog

    take your US inhaler free
    just don't post your freedom here

    post a link and be OK
    Mark will always be afraid

    BBC is doing a job
    The poster will never be alone

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  • 87. At 4:54pm on 26 Sep 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    #85, Betuli,

    Knowing his predecessor very very well he probably tied up the contracts very tightly so that Johnson could do very little for a few years at least without incurring vast penalties. What's more to be seen is if it gets extended westwards as Ken wanted, if Boris does do that then we know that he's maybe as bad as ken was, if he doesn't then it's time to see why he hasn't removed the problems of the congestion zone.
    I'm also waiting to see if TFL has been ordered to reprogram the traffic lights, as it's easy to create congestion to justify a charge if all the traffic lights are out of sync as they often were during Ken's reign, and that's unlikely to be an accident.

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  • 88. At 5:51pm on 26 Sep 2008, JonBowler wrote:

    Utterly fascinating - so much anti-car sentiment. Yet given that, as far as I'm aware, very few of us actually drive Rolls Royces, Ferraris et al, I would suggest that on average cars are already pretty close to the 130 g/km limit anyway (certainly below 200 g/km, particularly when you take usage into account i.e. is the car for daily driving or fun only?). Also, as far as the statistics are concerned that I have seen, cars actually contribute less than 25% of man-made CO2 output and even less in terms of total annual CO2 production including natural sources. So this EU limit is actually going to have a very small effect on total annual CO2 production.

    So I can only assume that the intention is to stop Europeans wasting their valuable money on cars, because, let's face it, who would want to spend their money on what will shortly become an astoundingly expensive battery powered box on four wheels? I'd rather take the bus and spend half an hour with my nose pressed into some Neanderthals armpit thinking about how at least I'm saving the planet not! I will arrange loss of car ownership with eating meat and flying (in fact leaving my home town at all) to go on holiday as western excesses that are to be sacrificed to save the planet. Instead, I'll put all my energies and vast accumulated wealth into reproducing as a pastime as clearly filling the Earth with more human beings does not appear to invoke any anger amongst the green brigade (although Al Gore did mention it in "An Inconvenient Truth")

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  • 89. At 7:36pm on 26 Sep 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    I noticed that General Motors at Luton, Bedfordshire in England have started to introduce 4 day working.

    Great news for their staff - a 20 percent paycut with the December/New Year Holidays not that far away in time now.

    I expect the EU Parliamentary Vote must feel like icing on the Christmas Cake for the workers in Luton . . . . Muahaahaahaaha!

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  • 90. At 8:36pm on 26 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I will try to understand
    What you have advised so far
    Thank you for the rhyming text
    Looks like I can see your point

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  • 91. At 01:21am on 27 Sep 2008, solarwindmilly wrote:

    beyondgreen wrote:
    We are drowning in our dependence on foreign oil. The high cost of fuel affects every sector of our economy. Jobless rates have skyrocketed along with an unprecedented foreclosure rate that seems to grow even higher every month. Electric bills have been raised to meet the increased cost to the electric companies. By the time the average family gets done gassing up the family vehicle and paying more for every consumer item there is nothing left over to save or invest. In fact most have had to hit up their savings just to get by as of late. We need to devote attention to how to extricate ourselves from the grip of foreign oil. We need to harness natural sources of energy such as wind and solar and integrate them with the modern technologies of hybrid, plug in cars, v2g, and others. We need to be in this for the long haul. We have long been an overindulgent and wasteful society with tunnel vision. it's time to look at the big picture. We need to take a good look at ourselves and this situation as a society and work towards a permanent solution. There is a boldly informative new book being released soon called The Manhattan Project of 2009 by Jeff Wilson.

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  • 92. At 09:33am on 27 Sep 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    #91, solarwindmilly,

    sounds great about the wind farms or other sources of alternative energy but don't forget the influence of NIMBY's who don't want them visible from their castle and the Eco-Terrorists who will surely find some rare species of newt that matches their own mentality or something equally obscure in order to block their construction (see my post #54).

    Before any solution is to be found these two issues have to be resolved, public consultations, planning appeals etc are a farce that has held the UK back for decades. As an example just look at how long it took to finish the M25, or complete the UK side of Eurostar, compared to how long the equivalent were built and operating in mainland Europe.

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  • 93. At 12:01pm on 27 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    #70 WhiteEnglishProud and #80 MaxSceptic

    Re those "cars", on board Ukr. vessel.

    What a good chance for NATO and Russia
    to forget old grudges and join together the Navy by Somalie shores, as minimum, temporarily, and do something useful!

    Maritime magazine here says every single day last year a ship (not all big and famous grabs, like this one, but still) was grabbed by the pirates, every single day.

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  • 94. At 12:07pm on 27 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I mean, instead of spoiling the environment for nothing.
    Because a ship makes so much CO2 by using its engines to produce electricity for itself.
    I think it's in Denmark that ships have to use by law electricity from cables from the shore, instead of switching on engines for that, when in port. And in USA some place as well. I also heard it will be a law in all EU ports in a number of years, and ports are getting equipped now with electricity conversion stations and special piers with infrustructure for that. Because a port who won't have it won't get any ships in and will lose money.
    At the moment US navy are spoiling atmosphere in the Russian Black Sea!
    And Russian navy plan to spoil atmpsphere a lot in Venezuela in reply.

    They'd all better pack and go to Somalia instead!

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  • 95. At 12:09pm on 27 Sep 2008, MaxSceptic wrote:

    WebAliceinwonderland @93

    I agree. Like the cleaning up of the old Barbary Coast.

    The whole place would also make a good firing range for testing weapons.

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  • 96. At 12:43pm on 27 Sep 2008, bogusphotographer wrote:

    What's really surprising is that the German car makers were 'surprised' by all this. Recently when I was on holiday I met a man who worked in engine design for one of the big car makers and he was passionate about climate change. His point was there is no design solution waiting in the wings and people will need to modify their behaviour. It's galling to hear naive comments that car owners are 'embattled', since car use still rises 3% a year, or by a third every decade - obviously the cost of fuel, tax, parking are not enough to discourage our love affair with the tin box on wheels.

    I think the ruling is good news as companies need some encouragement to really make more efficient cars. Car makers have pandered tp the egos of their customers and any efficiency gains have been used to increase the power of the engines. Given the competitive nature of the market, a voluntary deal would have been impossible. This ruling puts the industry on an equal footing and they are now bound to push the technology towards efficiency. After all, creativity comes from working within tight limits and where there is pressure to create solutions.

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  • 97. At 5:11pm on 27 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MaxSceptic #95

    O! One more today, this time a Greek tanker. Looks like an industry there.
    And they got 2 million dollars today from Japan, for their ship, so appetite comes during the meal. Sea there can make excellent, simply excellent "firing range" as you write.

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  • 98. At 7:07pm on 27 Sep 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Mental edema

    "I see the Pedants are out in force and in stereo at #17 and #18"

    "Winston Churchill was once informed that one should not end a sentence with a preposition. His response was, "That is the sort of arrogant pedantry up with which I will not put.""

    "Some may have to think through his response to see what he was trying to prove."

    "Pedants for the English Language can look overly obsessive concerning small details when the rest of the world understands the meaning of the words written or spoken."

    M.E., Perhaps you meant to say "That is the sort of arrogant pedantry with which I will not put up with."

    The word "put" is a verb. The word "with" is a preposition.

    Rules of grammar including punctuation are not a matter of pedantry, they are necessary for precision of meaning which in turn reflects precision and clarity of thought. The entire meaning of a clause of a legal contract can change if a punctuation mark changes, is moved, or is omitted or inserted. I once sat at the next desk to an English woman in an office and she told me my grammer was awful. I told her my grandpa ain't so hot neither. To which she replied...Oh that old chestnut :-)

    Chevy has introduced the "Volt." It's a new car you plug into a wall outlet at night and will go 40 miles on a charge of its lithium ion batteries. When the charge is exhausted, a gasoline engine operates a generator and it will go around 350 or 400 miles more before it has to be refueled. Since most trips are relatively short, this should reduce the consumption of gasoline. However, that's not as simple as it sounds. Half the electricity in the US comes from burning coal. There are also losses in the transmission lines. So the CO2 savings has to do to some degree with the difference in efficiency of power plants versus the efficiency of a gasoline engine. The savings may be real but in terms of what climatologists tell us we must do it is very marginal.|_2008_Chevy_Fuel_Solutions_Lifestyle_|_IMG_Electric_|_Chevy_Volt_FS_General_|_chevy_volt

    BTW, except for exotic sports cars, most Americans do not like European cars. Most European cars are not legal in the US anyway and those that are are usually special export versions modified to meet American standards. When Americans look for better cars than those made in their own country, they look to Japan. Also, many Japanese cars such as Honda and Toyota sold in the US are manufactured in the US.

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  • 99. At 7:25pm on 27 Sep 2008, ironfranco wrote:

    I’m back. What I shall say may appear a little bit strange though it is linked somehow to the topic. My first impression about you British is based on history and literature rather than on my personal experience. However, I assume it would be useful for you to collect just another comment from the other end of the Old Continent…
    When I first opened your blog I was surprised to see your face on the background of several flags, I mean those of some EU member states. What has struck me was that instead of the Union Jack I saw the colors of my country which had joined the Union just a year ago. Well, I said to myself, this is a purely British way to be in the Union without showing a single sign of it on the Mark’s logo. If tomorrow the Union falls apart, the UK will be the first to go with the pound sterling… (The Bulgarian flag seemed to be as lovely joke rather than a symbolic piece of that Babylon which name is EU)

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  • 100. At 7:50pm on 27 Sep 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    ironfranco, it is impossible to immitate something you simply do not understand. As an immitation of the United States of America, the European Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a joke. It's as though someone had seen a jumbo jet airplane through a telescope, carved one out of stone, and expected it to fly. I finally gave up on Justin Webb's blog site. His observations and comments about the American election are so far off the mark as to be worse than useless. He simply doesn't understand what he is watching. He reminds me of a first time viewer of a baseball game who has a general idea of the object of the game but doesn't understand the rules. He's hardly in a position to comment on what is happening during the action. It is by far the worst coverage possible but BBC has bombastically proclaimed it the best. Even the commercial American News networks far outstrip BBC in the insight of their coverage. Similarly, the EU has turned into a pathetic laughing stock of a superstate government. It's hard to see how it is good for anything except wasting an awful lot of time and money. There are those that pay in and those who take out. As one who takes out, Bulgaria should be happy to get this windfall from taxpayers in Britain, Germany, and whoever else is a net contributor. Their loss is Bulgaria's gain. Why have they done this to themselves? Because a lot of little fish want to look like one great big one.

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  • 101. At 9:15pm on 27 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    My modest opinion is EU is very wonderful.

    One place my country will never be able to quarrel with. This is something.

    How can one quarrel with the EU? It is so abstract.
    Besides, one can have disagreements with separate countries, dislike what this one said/did to Russia, or, whatever, but then there will be so many still who didn't do anything nasty, so, I mean, even for Kremlin, it is nearly impossible to quarrel "with the EU".

    (MA look up Ekranoplan in the BBC site now story, before it disappeared. Family babe. I also tried flying over water in one.)

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  • 102. At 10:38pm on 27 Sep 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII @ 98

    Alas you have not seen the humour of Winston Churchill's words he used to highligh the absurdity of a particular rule of grammar AND take a swipe at pedants who want to see grammar used without any regard to common sense or practical use.

    I typed Winston Churchill's quoted words exactly a he said them.

    He was told that he must not end a sentence with a preposition, e.g. the word "with" should not complete a sentence if the rules of grammar in which he was being corrected are followed exact.

    He immediately used a sentence in the way he was being told to be the correct form - simply to show the stupidity of the rule of grammar in which he was being corrected.

    The sentence only has commonly held understanding if you write it as you have suggested I should have written it - ending with a preposition.

    Thus, you have used the sentence as Churchill and any sensible person would have done in normal useage - had he not just been told to that it was incorrect to do so.

    Churchill was intent, in a flash of wit, on holding up rules of grammar to ridicule and pedants to be, sometimes, too foolish to be listened to.

    Hence in my own words at #24, "Some may have to think through his response to see what he was trying to prove."

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  • 103. At 11:29pm on 27 Sep 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I guess that's why they threw him out after the war at the first opportunity. Bad grammar...worse grandpa.

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  • 104. At 00:46am on 28 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:


    No Marcus, they threw him out because they wanted the welfare state then brought him back because they needed some who could run it.

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  • 105. At 01:00am on 28 Sep 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:


    The Ekranoplan looks to be nothing more than a form of what we call a hydrofoil. The principles have been known for around a century and I rode in one myself from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen but it was huge, the width of several jumbo jets I'd say.

    "One of the most successful Soviet designer/inventor in this area was Rostislav Alexeyev who is considered as father of modern hydrofoil based on his design in 1950's which was world first high-speed hydrofoils. Later, circa 1970's, Rostislav Alexeyev also went further to create world first Ekranoplan."

    If Ekranoplan is revolutionary, I'm not sure what about it makes it so.

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  • 106. At 07:40am on 28 Sep 2008, pciii wrote:

    Several posts above make the point that big cars are no longer as inefficient as they used to be, due to advances in engine technology. The point surely is that if you placed the same technology in a smaller car you get greater returns for the technological investment.
    I'm not saying that you can cram a family of seven into a Renault Twingo, but instead of driving around in big 4wds, most of us could surely have more fun and use less fuel driving a smaller car.

    Living in Australia has opened my eyes to how different markets work .Here cars are bigger, they all have larger capacity engines , are more poorly equipped (especially safety) and there are a lot of Auto gearboxes. Yet, speed limits are lower and roads of poorer quality (more dangerous) - so why the obsession with engine size. It's all about perception and the fact that the average Aussie thinks they're going to be driving across the country on a regular basis. The fact is that most people take the plane for a long distance journey and it's been so long since they got in a smaller car that they are unaware that in terms of refinement there's probably little to separate a 1.8 Astra from the much larger Commodore.

    I don't expect everyone to agree, but any legislation that ensures I have a wider range of quality, efficient, fun cars to choose from on return to the UK is good news for me. If it doesen't come through I'll just have to get by on being smug when I'm filling up next to the Toyota Landcruiser at the petrol station.

    Final point is that Europe shouldn't be scared of this legislation - if it applies to everyone selling cars there. The US and Japanese aren't about to pull out of one of the biggest markets in the world and it will just help to ensure the European product remains technologically superior.

    In the mean time I'll stick to my bike for commuting and the car for longer journeys.

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  • 107. At 09:42am on 28 Sep 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    It amazes me the smugness to which city-dweller can achieve through their passion for being anti-car when more than half the world's population do not live in cities where there is easy access to work and facilities through feet, bicycles and a surfeit of regular public transport facilties.

    Not everyone can or actually wants to live in cities and the bullying mindset of some city dwellers is tantemount to resentful stupidity.

    I wonder if the politics of the anti-car city dwellers are motivated by envy of those fortunate enough to afford big cars and those fortunate enough to not live in the cities.

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  • 108. At 10:54am on 28 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    #107 - Menedemus

    It is precisely because the car is a necessity to many non-city dwellers - and is also much more efficient in such an environment- that I have a downer on urban drivers.

    In discussing how we travel, however, it also raises the pertinent question of why. I think this is especially important when part of the green lobby is keen on driving up the price of flying as a deterent and in an age when virtual electronic conferencing is so sophisticated. I am keen not to punish people who take affordable holidays and those who make perfectly reasonable use of their cars for their day to day life.

    It is frequent fliers and urban motorists, traveling ostensibly on business but actually to take advantage for a jolly who need to embrace new communication technologies and stop choking up the skies and urban streets.

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  • 109. At 12:29pm on 28 Sep 2008, mcdv-1975 wrote:

    What a disgrace. Those loons in Brussels are going to kill off one of the few remaining viable industries in Europe just because they want to 'fight' climate change?

    HELLO BRUSSELS! Climate change is a natural phenomenon which we hardly influence and certainly cannot stop. Why isn't anyone stopping this collective lunacy?

    "CO2 is roughly 0.0388% of the Earth's atmosphere but only 0.00117% of the Earth's atmosphere is man-made CO2."

    Earths temperatures haven't risen at all in the past 10 years.

    @Buzet (54)
    I like that idea. Let's have this toy-parliament voting again. And again. Until they get it right. And let's also tell them that if they don't vote again and produce the answer we like, there'll be war, famine, genocide, concentration camps and poverty (that's actually what the pro-EU/anti-democracy crowd told us Dutch would happen if we voted against the anti-democratic constitutional treaty).

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  • 110. At 12:37pm on 28 Sep 2008, greypolyglot wrote:

    105. MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "The Ekranoplan looks to be nothing more than a form of what we call a hydrofoil."

    No. Hydrofoils work by moving at high speed on the surface of the water.

    Ekranoplans (also known as 'wing in ground' - an odd term but I didn't coin it) fly (just) over water or land on a layer of air compressed between the wing and the surface.

    I don't know what the current situation is but in 2002 Boeing were planning to build one;

    as was China in 2007

    I understand that small ones are used around Australia's coast as taxis cum minibuses and one-man ones are raced in the Caribbean

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  • 111. At 1:12pm on 28 Sep 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    graypolyglot, the only way to move at high speed on the surface of water is to ride on a cushion of air above the water. This is because that is the only way to eliminate the friction between the hull and the water which would make travel at such speeds impossible due to the huge engines required to overcome it. The Ekranplan may use the lift of a wing to assist in levitating the vessel off the surface but it is ultimately a variant of the same principle.

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  • 112. At 1:54pm on 28 Sep 2008, Buzet23 wrote:


    Come on MAII, the Ekranplan is no more a hydrofoil than a hovercraft is as they both sit on a cushion of air i.e. fly, the advantage of the hovercraft is that it is more manoeuvrable and safer on dry land, as against the faster Ekranplan which can only really cope with very flat dry land. Kindly tell me of any hydrofoil that rides either on the surface of water or just below it, that can either fly or travel across land.

    To put it as wikipedia quote : a hydrofoil is a boat with wing-like foils mounted on struts below the hull. As the craft increases its speed the hydrofoils develop enough lift for the boat to become foilborne - i.e. to raise the hull up and out of the water. This results in a great reduction in drag and a corresponding increase in speed.

    Whereas the Ekranplan is a form of plane.

    PS. You must be feeling aggrieved that both the Ekranplan and Hovercraft were not developed by the USA and that neither was the Hydrofoil and that it was those dastardly Europeans who invented them. Still carry on believing that your US heroes Edison invented the light bulb and that the Wright brothers were the first to fly the measured distance.

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  • 113. At 2:29pm on 28 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    #112 - Buzet23

    I am not sure if this counts as a definition but the Department of Transport requires that you have a ships master's certificate to drive a commercial hydrofoil whereas qualified pilots are allowed to skipper commercial hovercraft.

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  • 114. At 2:38pm on 28 Sep 2008, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #112 Buzet23

    See you too have the measure of MAII! He/she lives in a bygone age - nothing wrong in that, but he seems to think that age will continue for ever more.

    He/she can be induced to produce thousands of words, not always to the point - which by the way is here: 'Blow to Carmakers' - about reducing CO2 emissions from motor vehicles and the reluctance of the (mainly German) manufacturers to want to do so.

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  • 115. At 3:21pm on 28 Sep 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Europeons mincing words again in defense of their inferior civilization doesn't surprise me one bit. That a hovercraft flies at a somewhat higher altitude than an hydrofoil or an Ekranplan make it less prone to crashing into objects on land or dealing with uneven terrain is no big surprise. I'm the first to concede that Europeans invented lots of things. World Wars, genocide, inquisitions. They didn't invent slavery but they did commercialize it on an industrial scale, at least probably for the first time since ancient Egypt.

    Rather interesting how the EUristocrats when confronted by the press a year or two ago told the public that their driving the highest CO2 output least efficient cars on the road was nobody's business but their own. Of course they are reluctant to give up their Mercedes SUVs, their BMWs, their Rolls Royces. They feel that as aristocrats they have right to them. After all, they are better than other people are and therefore deserve to be allowed to pollute the air and contribute to global warming in proportion to their worth. Clearly the EU has not lived up to the promises it made under Kyoto for the same reasons the US refused to sign it. Yet for all the hoopla, the US is actually starting to deal with CO2 emissions in its own way voluntarily while Europe generates just more of its hot air...and CO2 gas.

    BTW, when you sit in a bistro in say France, does the stench of the fumes from buses, trucks and cars still make eating and drinking outside there as unbearable as it was when I lived there? What about the noise, still the same? Have they cleaned up the rivers which always seemed to reek of raw sewage?

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  • 116. At 4:53pm on 28 Sep 2008, Michael Lloyd wrote:

    All the pollution in the world is caused by cars. Global warming is caused solely by cars. Oh, what do you mean, I'm wrong?

    You would think the blasted EU would turn its unwelcome attention to some of the other causes of pollution. If we all stopped driving tomorrow it would make no difference because there would be massive pollution from all the other sources, and they would need a huge increase in public transport to get us all about.

    Why is the pollution from ships and trains acceptable but that from cars is not? Why is the pollution from heating offices and shops to uncomfortable levels acceptable? Why are sporting events still being played under huge batteries of spotlights?

    It's long past time when the motorist was left alone and some of the other "offenders" tackled. And why is there still no mention of overpopulation? Scared of upsetting all those Catholics, are we?

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  • 117. At 5:10pm on 28 Sep 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    Tsk, tsk.

    I feel a Founding Fathers, Sons of Liberation, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams collective headache pill coming on in the search of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness!

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  • 118. At 5:15pm on 28 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Ekranoplan. Tears. The first thing that comes to my mind is what all wonder, how did Putin dare to call collapse of USSR - "the major geo-political catastrophe of the 20th century" !

    Ekranoplan history is one of the reasons - why.

    Now some revival of course here. But in
    un-finance collapsing times, when nobody cared the hell what is the future of Soviet designer secrets - many were grabatised, stolen, fooled (none - sold) out of Russia.

    In USA now 2 places - Boeing's Pelican, on the base of Alexeev design, and another Russian designer design.
    And in Baltimore - on the basis of EKIP ("Ecology and effectiveness"!) - Shukin's base.

    Pelican will be bigger, for heavy-loads.

    EKIP will be military, other key advantages, like composite materials used making it less visible to diff. sources.

    China works on Alexeev's base as well. When he died, his 2nd man quarreled with Nizny Novgorod centre and made a JV with a Taiwanese chap, who owns a shipbuilding company in China. 1% is China state, 99% shares - that Taiwanese chap.

    Taiwan - also fascinated with ability to lift heavy-weights. Same source.
    In (USSR) several design bureaus worked simultaneously, many designers. From 1932.

    Key names - Alexeev, Bartini, Schukin.

    One group worked for airline industry, the other - in ship-building, third group - for army, marines, special despatch groups. Plus special groups.

    Alexeev's, though, was most on the surface, visible, as got the first Stalin award (top Russian award, was Lenin's, then - Stalin's, now - "Russia's") for one, 1st Oct 1941.

    Shukin died from heart-break in 1991, when financing of improvements to his version was stopped.

    Reminds me how my father got white-haired overnight. When Perestroyka Russian powers forgot fleet in Sebastopol. Simply - forgot. The rental deal was negotiated with Ukraine years after.

    Meanwhile, interesting visitors kept coming to our apartment, one opened his coat, opened his shirt, and un-rolled his ship flag rolled over on the body. A captain. They lived in siege in Ukraine. No water, no food on board, no comms with the shore. 3 years.
    Funny this "Caspian Monster" in the BBC article. You know what it is? This is how spying Americans read the letters KM on board - Korabl-maket. Ship-Mock-up. It was not functional. One of many trial models.

    First working ones, reliable, 1972.

    Options and models, as you can imagine, are diff. for diff. purposes, and made by diff. people. Reconnaisance long-haul; heavy-lift capacity to deliver troops and tanks; missile, fighting ones; nuclear bomb carriers. Etc.

    Many prefer ecranolyot to ecranoplan.
    The "lyot"/flight can leave his cruising height of several metres, forget his air stream formed under the wings, the "screen" on which it sits, and take off to 8000 metres. Then fly down, back to screen.
    Int'l classification breaks into 3 types -
    moves on the screen
    moves on the screen but can jump over an obstacle 150 m. high max
    No 3 does all this and flies as a plane, then goes down and lands on his air stream under the wing, thus doesn't require an aerodrome.

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  • 119. At 7:07pm on 28 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Markunchik, #105
    On the tech. side.

    A hydrofoil-chik you've rode in, works on Archimed principle. That water that you push it down and it pushes up.

    Hydrofoil here is called a ship on underwater wings.
    Which explains it.

    There are wings under the ship's belly, and water pushes those wings back. If the wings are calculated well, water pushes them up very well, and this lifts the ship. Out of water. But still the ship touches water, at points, but there is contact.

    A hovercraft is a big hair dryer. Many many hair-dryers are attached under its belly pointed down, there are jets of air that kick the ground or water surface and push the ship up into air again.
    Usually there are skirts on the perimeter of the ship, protecting the air cushion from running away.
    Hoovercrafts below look like a grill. Separated in partitions. If one partition gets spoiled (one hair dryer), when the ship runs across an obstacle like a ? short eh? lamp post ! sticking out of the ground, one partition stops to work and is destroyed, or even not it, the swirl of air in this box gets destroyed, but the rest of the chess-board is safe.
    Hovercrafts tend to be big, because swirls of air compliment each other, the more the better, so the most economic hoovercrafts are not the small ones but the huge ones.

    Ekranoplan/ecrane-o-plane has no wings working on contact with water, and no hair dryers pointed down.

    The beauty of it is its shape. Only shape.

    Well calculated, allows an air stream to be formed by itself, creating an invisible screen the ship sits on. Of course power is applied, engines driving it forth. But the force that lifts it up gets formed by itself.

    The principle is: the lower to the surface, the wider the wings, the slower it moves - more solid screen.

    So a large and slow and low-flying ecranoplan sits on a very solid screen, nearly hard.

    The trick is to make it fast and keep the screen.

    And reach maneuv?rity, that it can turn on the way, because every single tiny crane spoils all formulas and calculations and spoils the screen. Bang!

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  • 120. At 9:04pm on 28 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I remembered there was a funny story in the Soviet times when the speedy train design, the task, was given to a ship-building bureau.

    The result was as you can guess. An ecrano-planish kind of train. On reaching 200km+ the train stubbornly took off. And whatever they tried, the bloody train continued flying.

    While Western speedy trains most annoyingly kept on the rails, at much higher speeds.
    But when you encharge a train design to a military ship-building bureau, what do you expect?
    The navy were actually quite proud of this train. So long and heavy, 16 cars - and flies so well !

    But the city council didn't share their happiness.

    So the work was passed over to other designers.

    However I never take this train, Moscow - St.Petersburg in less than 4 hrs.

    Somehow I am sure it kept old features.
    The speed of it in the railway station is suspiciously advertised as "198 km per hour".

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  • 121. At 10:38pm on 28 Sep 2008, ironfranco wrote:

    To MarcusAureliusII @100
    I have little knowledge of how the UE works, so I agree with your comments about the first time viewer of a baseball game… Our common problem is that we are doomed to play our game within the EU no matter how different we are.
    You are certainly right to pretend that the poorer member states are allowed to be credited at the expense of the richer ones, provided they advance enough arguments for the real needs they have and the way they will use the EU funds.
    However, the good news is that the foreign investments in Bulgaria have tripled after we have joined the EU. You see friend, there are people in UK and Germany who will become richer in the short term. At the same time, the majority of us, Bulgarians are going through a very, very difficult period of jumping from the “Union of socialist republics” living standards into a new reality which we badly know. God keep us…

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  • 122. At 11:36pm on 28 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII @100
    ironfranco @ 121

    For the benefit of anyone who is confused, baseball is cross between cricket and rounders played in body armour. The object of the game is to keep your eye on the ball, hit it wherever you want then run like hell in the opposite direction.

    The EU is more like ice hockey, which involves passing the puck while running around in ever decreasing circles. I hope this clears everything up.

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  • 123. At 00:13am on 29 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Overall I wonder why we don't see small hovercrafts in the streets.

    Not so much more expensive than some Maybach ? or Infiniti or ? Bentley?
    Must be cheaper in fact.

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  • 124. At 00:51am on 29 Sep 2008, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    The "EU" strengthened the far-right in Austria with its arrogance.

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  • 125. At 00:56am on 29 Sep 2008, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Elsewhere I read the suggestion that the CIA supported the Irish NO campaign.

    If it is true then:


    Is it legal?

    Who the hell knows what legal is nowadays? National courts, "EU" courts, European Court of Human Rights, monkeys in the zoo etc...

    Do I care if is legal?

    Given what anti-democratic "EU"-lovers have done to us ...

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  • 126. At 03:25am on 29 Sep 2008, Penti- wrote:

    For those complaining about aerosols in Asthma medication, AstraZeneca has Pulmicort (Budesonide) with Norflurane aerosol. Don't know if it's better it was ages ago I had asthma stopped taking medicine for it like 95. Budesonide isn't for acute cases though. I think I used Bricanyl (terbutalin) for it when I was a kid. It doesn't exist in aerosol / inhalator form any more, I see that Airomir contains Ethanol, is that the problem? AstraZeneca and Ventolin clearly demonstrate that you can have an aerosol spray with Norflurane without any Ethanol in it. Magnesium stearate is used in the Pulmicort. I mostly used asthma medication in power form.

    So you should have options.

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  • 127. At 04:27am on 29 Sep 2008, Wrinklyoldgit wrote:

    Car makers have by and large had a good run for decades, from the heigh days of the fifties and sixties when they charged a premium for a radio and electric wipers, through to the gas guzzling luxury 4x4's of the eighties and nineties. The industry is all about speed and power - safety and economy were a sick joke to the industry that had to be dragged kicking and screaming into caring what happened to the occupants when there was a crash.

    Far from blameless are successive governments who have scrimped on investment in ground transport infrastructure, decent public transport would have obviated the need for so many cars.

    But then how else would the governments have been able to raise revenue so easily if it were not for the motorist with his bottomless pocket.

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  • 128. At 08:40am on 29 Sep 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    Penti- @ 126

    Yes, the options exist but the market forces can all but eliminate some of the choices from various parts of the world.

    I used to work for a well known Pharmaceutical company - British owned -and one of its flagship products was a salbutamol-based product.

    Even though most salbutamol products are no longer patent protected the cost of producing the micronised powder form is too expensive for the Generic Product Manufacturers to break into the market.

    My company sell approximately 60% of its asthma product to the USA and the remaining 40% goes into Europe and the Rest of the World. Western Europe gets the lion's share.

    The CFC propellants in the old-fashioned inhalers have been replaced and over-time have become as efficient but may not have the same projectile force.

    Alice's other problem is that Russia is probably being shipped the old fashioned propellant devices whereas the more modern and much more efficient Multiple (Fixed) Dose Propelled Inhalers (MDPI) devices which are a massive earner for my former employer are shipped almost entirely to the USA where the Dollar stiil provides the most profit.

    Alice is not likely to see a more modern MDPI device until many years in the future simply because of the profit factor and where she lives.

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  • 129. At 12:29pm on 29 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    #126 Penti
    Thank you ever so very much for writing.
    What is the "power form" you've mentioned? (and how did you manage to get rid of all in 1995?)

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  • 130. At 12:44pm on 29 Sep 2008, threnodio wrote:

    #128 - Menedemus

    I was going to do some rearch for Alice today as I have some experience with my partner's problem, but you are clearly better qualified than I am. May I suggest you contact her?


    I have tried my central European contacts for the spray that there is none around any more.

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  • 131. At 4:09pm on 29 Sep 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    threnodio @130



    you have mail! :=)

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  • 132. At 7:05pm on 29 Sep 2008, ironfranco wrote:

    To MarcusAureliusII @122
    I did not know it was so easy to play within the EU. Why should not call it A CATCH AS CAN instead of ice hockey? We Bulgarians are good in wrestling.

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  • 133. At 3:08pm on 30 Sep 2008, rayatcov wrote:

    I dearly wish the green colleagues would explain this:-
    "As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic"
    --Barack Obama, Berlin, July 24, 2008

    "New data from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute shows that there is more ice than normal in the Arctic waters north of the Svalbard archipelago. In most years, there are open waters in the area north of the archipelago in the month of July. Studies from this year however show that the area is covered by ice, the Meteorological Institute writes in a press release."
    --Barents Observer (Kirkenes, Norway), July 24, 2008.

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  • 134. At 9:14pm on 30 Sep 2008, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    rayatkov# 133.
    I also heard that Polar ice "continents" and multi-mile chunks are doing allright. Scares that "Oh, a big piece has just fell out and will melt!" are ungrounded, they always did that, throughout the past 70 years as minimum recorded by Russia. Same mileage2
    of ice gets falling off and melts, more or less.

    What I think we all have noticed is that weather did become funny, way too rainy summers, warmer than usual winters.

    But this can't be written off directly to human influence, "sun wind" and other grand nature phenomena seem to have influencing it.

    On a person's level cares for pollution should be practical, I think, not those ozone holes, but what the air and water is where you live. Anyone'd agree that the air is better in the suburbs, I guess? Si I think simply don't spoil the air in the city by awful chimneys of all sorts, and don't pour dirty water unprocessed down into your river or sea. This should be the concern, with results seen immediately, not some questionable "CO2 influence on the climate patterns worldwide."

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  • 135. At 6:03pm on 01 Oct 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    I have just seen an article that shows just how barmy the Green Lobby can get:

    Australians should eat Kangeroo

    That's one corner of the world that is going to do its bit to fight Climate Change!

    And these same people have a down on cars as well. Are they sane?

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  • 136. At 00:36am on 03 Oct 2008, pciii wrote:

    Menedemus - what the heck is wrong with eating Kangaroo?

    Apart from the methane argument (which I think that article points out) it makes a lot of sense here in Australia. Kangaroos are well adapted to the local ecosystems and environment, cows and sheep are not. This means that from a pure efficiency point of view, Roos make a lot of sense. They also have a lot less impact on the rest of the environment through their grazing and ground compaction characteristics.

    As for the taste, I've only had it once so far, the verdict - good. Certainly not going to replace premium steaks but as a replacement for burger ingredients, why not?

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