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Tomorrow on PM, Mark Mardell. Where is he and what's his piece about...on the basis of these candid shots?

Eddie Mair | 13:28 UK time, Thursday, 7 June 2007



  1. At 01:37 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    In a very nice car (his own?) at the G8 summit? Or summit?

  2. At 01:40 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Robert wrote:

    Its a Merc in Germany and its a car that produces plenty of C02 so my guesses are the other thing that is producing plenty of C02, The current G8 round of talks????

  3. At 01:43 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Joe Palooka wrote:

    Did you know Hitler had the same make of car?

  4. At 01:51 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Gossipmistress wrote:

    Is he Tony's getaway driver?

  5. At 01:54 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Wonko wrote:

    I know exactly what he's doing. I read his Europe diary (published today). Interestingly I read that Mark is soon to transfer to a Frog style of publishing, but is still a bit nervous of this. Perhaps Eddie and the PM team could take Mark under their wing and show him how lovely the Beach is!

    It's all to do with proposed EU legislation aimed at reducing CO2 emissions from cars by limiting their top speed to around 100mph. Mark - purely in the interest of investigative journalism you understand - is seeing what the attraction of driving a big, powerful car is when the speed limit in most EU countries is less than half the speed these machines are capable of.

    Oh yes, and he's having a jolly nice time too.

    ;o) []

  6. At 01:56 PM on 07 Jun 2007, RJD wrote:

    Where is he?
    In the heart of Europe

    What's his piece about?
    Fast cars and damage to the climate, and moves afoot in Europe to limit car emissions & put warnings in car advertisements.

    What's the prize?

    If it turns out he's moonlighting as a foreign car importer, tell him I'm interested in the Merc if the price is right!

  7. At 02:00 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Flags of 8 nations ... left-hand drive ... German make ...

    It's that daft tart being slung out of Big Brother innit?


  8. At 02:05 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Peej wrote:

    Maybe he's visiting his tailor?

  9. At 02:14 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Well, a quick look at their website and global warming doesn't seem to be top of their list of priorities. Or, indeed, anywhere in their priorities.

    Is this the best Rentacar could do?

  10. At 02:20 PM on 07 Jun 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Ahhh dear Mark - another man who learned his trade with our Martha.

    I miss his contributions to 'This Week' with Andrew Neil

    Looking forward to tomorrow's PM

  11. At 02:24 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    DYD 259? That's a Somerset registration number. It looks so old (1940s), maybe it really belongs to a Combine Harvester and is being used to avoid paying the Congestion Charge.

    Actually, at first I thought he was in the Diana tunnel.

  12. At 02:28 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Well, although the damage caused by cars to the climate is fairly insignificant, and reductions would be even less significant, I think the main cause of traffic-related pollution is not fast cars but slow ones, i.e. those moving at about 5 mph in 1st. gear. And, as I have said before, the main culprit here is the highways authority.

  13. At 02:39 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Rachel wrote:

    Judging by the huge number of comments on Mark's diary piece - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6728165.stm - the Jeremy Clarkson brigade seems to be out in force. I expect this will be a hot topic on the blog tomorrow.

  14. At 02:39 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Robert wrote:

    Hey Jonnie/Big Sister - Looking at this Blog entry possible you should poll next for Eddie to be a guest on Top Gear??!!

  15. At 03:25 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Electric Dragon wrote:

    So, what percentage of CO2 generated by cars is generated by cars going at >100mph, given that such travel no doubt forms a tiny proportion of all miles driven in the EU? And is that greater than the proportion of CO2 generated by cars stuck in traffic jams on the M6?

    I found this quote (re a proposal to put a speed limit on Autobahns): "A spokesman for the Transport Ministry, Dirk Inger, said a study by a federal agency had found that an overall autobahn limit of 100 kilometers per hour -- or 62 mph -- would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by only 0.6 percent.". Note the limit proposed here is 100 km/h rather than 100 mph, so the 100mph limiter would be even less effective. In most of Europe it is already illegal to go at 100mph - in the UK it will get you an automatic ban if caught unless you can prove "exceptional circumstances". So it would be far more effective for the Germans to legislate their own limits rather than forcing the rest of Europe to fall into line over something that they ban anyway.

    If I had a car capable of doing 150 mph, I'd want to be able to use it - where it was legal to do so, like on a track day. Putting engine limiters on prevents even this possibility. (Sadly my current car could only go at 150 mph if you dropped it from an aeroplane.)

    Mark Mardell's diary also mentions modern cars being heavier than older ones - there are several reasons for this. One of the main ones is modern safety standards - those airbags, crumple zones, catalytic converters, etc. aren't massless. Where did the need for these come from? EU legislation. Also we have come to expect much more specification in our cars - CDs, electric windows, air conditioning, etc.

    Why not focus on a sector where the carbon emission is increasing far more rapidly - aviation. Specifically, a carbon tax on aviation fuel might go some way to reducing those easyJet short breaks.

  16. At 04:23 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Frances O wrote:

    He's Paris Hilton's driver.

    What's she doing at G8?

  17. At 04:28 PM on 07 Jun 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    easy peasy...Mark...LHD Merc...loadsa flags...

    .....it's the Scottish Parliament about to announce that...


  18. At 04:50 PM on 07 Jun 2007, admin annie wrote:

    Fifi, is there only one daft tart in the BB house then?

    or possibly none by now?

  19. At 05:12 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Zat ist mein Main Mann du ist spraching about!


  20. At 05:28 PM on 07 Jun 2007, van wrote:

    i don't know, but he needs to eat less pies, crisps, sweets and tripe

  21. At 06:08 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    If you compare the fuel efficiency of different modes of transportation you will find the following:

    * Amtrak train travel uses 2,100 BTUs per passenger-mile
    * An automobile uses on average 3,597 BTUs per passenger-mile (based on 1.6 passengers)
    * A highway bus (like Greyhound) uses on average 946 BTUs per passenger-mile
    * Airlines use 3,890 BTUs per passenger-mile

    So the average American car is almost as inefficient as an aeroplane?

  22. At 08:49 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Van (20), I think you mean "fewer pies..."

  23. At 10:04 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Val P wrote:

    Appy - beat me to it!

  24. At 12:56 AM on 08 Jun 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Good on ya, gals!

    btw, I think Alex Fergusson is thinking about something else today...

  25. At 09:37 AM on 08 Jun 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    The point about the Mark Mardell item is probably the environmental impact of fast cars vs slow ones, not vs other modes of transport. I have never carried 1.6 passengers in my car, though I can see that the 60/40 split in the back seat was designed for that purpose.

    Personally I am not in favour of large cars, and only drive a V*ctra because there are no alternative choices of company car.

  26. At 09:53 AM on 08 Jun 2007, Val P wrote:

    Right on Frances O. As I said elsewhere, earlier, where have you been?

  27. At 03:49 PM on 08 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Frances (24),
    Was that Fergusson or Ferguson?

  28. At 05:18 PM on 08 Jun 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Not in Brussels, Val. Unlike Mark Mardell, we now learn.

    Just busy busy

  29. At 09:44 AM on 10 Jun 2007, Mark Mardell - BBC Europe Editor wrote:

    Yes Sotires Eleftheriou I really was driving a car around Brussels. Easy to answer but it's given me a headache wondering what Sotires suspected : that I was really in the studio faking it? Or I was driving round London pretending it was Brussels? Or walking around Brussels pretending to drive? And to what end? It makes you wonder. And it was all perfectly safe as my producer Cara was handing the recording side of things. She will be pleased that Rebecca León at least felt it was well put together and she, Cara, also worried about naming the car. My feeling is it was scarcely an ad : the point was that it’s the sort of car that some MEPs think is bad and should be banned. Most people know Mercs are big, powerful cars without me telling them. More prosaically can you remembr what model it was? I must say I have a visceral hatred of broadcasting that sounds po faced or unatural. Even as a child I thought blue peter's "sticky backed plastic" was daft. I don't think driving a generic "big car" without saying what it was would make much sense. John Booth makes, to me, an interesting point : interesting because MEPs have to respond to proposals that come from the commission. When the last euro elections were held no one had a clue this law was in the pipeline ..not even those who designed it ..so it couldn't be in any manifesto. So how would you make MEPs more democratically accountable? If you want to read more detail about the proposal which also suggests curbing car advertising have a read of my diary:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/europe_diary/default.stm

  30. At 10:14 AM on 10 Jun 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Mark Mardell: Thanks for troubling to give the Blog a wider background to the issue - it is illuminating.

    Listening to your report, the thing that struck me was your own reaction to the car. Like you, I've felt seduced sometimes by mechanical wonders, and indeed was, for a few brief months, the guilty owner of a 1972 Cadillac, and still remember the special feelings it evoked. But I guess car manufacturers really do have to try to take the challenge head on, because a car that is capable of such speeds is also very uneconomical, whatever its emission rating, and the issue of sustainability cannot be ignored.

    How did it compare, btw, in terms of petrol consumption with your own people carrier?

    Best wishes

  31. At 11:25 AM on 10 Jun 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    Many thanks, Mark Mardell, for taking the time to comment!

    It is always great to hear the *inside* story behind a piece...and who do you approach to get a feeling for the "public's" view to your final question?

    Good wishes


  32. At 12:11 PM on 10 Jun 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Ed, I think I experienced an error 502 in the brain

  33. At 09:22 PM on 18 Jun 2007, Chris wrote:

    He is actually outside the door to the Brussels European Parliament in the photo

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