If the world is to end the threat from climate change, we need to produce more with less energy, says Mark Moody Stuart. In this week's Green Room, he outlines his vision that will help society fulfil this goal.
To address the climate challenge we need to reduce the carbon content of our energy by at least half.
Consumer opinion and choice is important, but it will not do the trick on its own
But at the same time we must learn to generate a unit of GDP for about half the energy which we use at present.
Energy efficiency and carbon content of energy are equally important, but they require different approaches to achieve them.
I am a great believer in both the power of consumer choice and the market. As we come to understand the consequences, we do tend to make greener choices.
But most of us will only make those choices if they deliver the convenience and utility to which we are used or aspire; and if they do not cost more (or we can afford the luxury of choice).
Consumer opinion and choice is important, but it will not do the trick on its own. Its importance is in encouraging companies to supply the market in more climate friendly ways, and most importantly in encouraging governments (for whom consumers vote) to take the steps needed.
So what of the market? It is an unsurpassed mechanism for allocating resources to deliver better things. Through competition, technologies are optimised or discarded, opening the field for creativity and choice. I believe in the power and value of markets.
But like most things, they have a failing. Without regulation to channel their power, markets will not deliver things which are of no immediate benefit to the individual making his or her choice, even though they may be beneficial to society.
Increased spending power must not lead to more fossil fuel power
Without regulation, markets would not have delivered unleaded gasoline, catalytic converters on the exhausts of cars or seatbelts and airbags, nor clean air to London after the killer smogs of the 1950s.
In New Delhi, regulation forced three-wheeled vehicles, taxis and buses to switch to clean gas fuel. The initial complaints were great, but everyone, including the taxi drivers, blessed the result.
These regulations were not cost free, but everyone benefited. Regulation was needed to channel the power of the market, but regulatory frameworks have to be simple and practical.
The gut opposition of business people to regulation comes from bitter experience of regulations which don't just frame the market but bind it hand and foot and tell us how things must be done.
This kills markets and takes the fun and variety out of life.
So what are the frameworks we need?
For carbon content, we need a mechanism which forces energy supplies in the right direction. This means putting a price on carbon for major producers (and large-scale users) of energy through a carbon cap and trade system, such as we already have in Europe.
Unfortunately, this system has been initially subject to government and business special pleading and gaming. Or it means a carbon tax.
Both are complex and should only be applied to major producers or users. Trading encourages carbon-avoiding investment where it has the most impact. It also allows the transfer, through market mechanisms, of financial resources to China and India.
I do not think we will get a more global agreement without such transfer. Taxation has the great merit that it provides a clear floor price of carbon.
So for me the preferred option is a combination - a tax, but with the ability to reduce it through trading, getting the best combination of a floor price and efficiency of investment.
Most people think that a price of something around 40 dollars a tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) to producers would do the trick.
Before you panic about the cost to you and industrial transport, that is only about 5p a litre on fuel - within the noise of oil price variations.
On the other hand, for efficiency we need regulatory frameworks - very tough efficiency standards on buildings, on lighting and on personal transport.
That means banning the manufacture or import of old fashioned light bulbs.
Technically, this actually just means putting a standard on the efficiency of lights so that markets decide whether the best answer is compact fluorescent lights or the newer LEDs - old incandescents would never meet such a hurdle.
Only cars that make the grade can stay, says Sir Mark
It means very tough standards on buildings. This is already having an effect in London where to achieve highly valuable planning permission, developments are already achieving energy efficiency which we thought we would not achieve for a decade or more.
And for personal transportation? That means banning "gas guzzlers" and steadily increasing the total efficiency of any vehicle sold.
You can buy the roomiest, vroomiest car, as long as it meets the efficiency standard.
My wife and I have driven a hybrid since 2001 and it is a beautiful and comfortable piece of engineering, silent and will do 100mph (we tried it, but not in England!).
That may not be the best technology - the market will find out. But we must constrain the market in an efficiency framework.
To achieve the same through taxation would mean fuel taxes at levels which would play havoc with industry, countryside dwellers and the poor who need transport.
Sir Mark Moody-Stuart is non-executive chairman of Anglo American, and is a member of the UN Global Compact and chairman of the Global Compact Foundation
The Green Room is a series of opinion articles on environmental topics running weekly on the BBC News website
Do you agree with Mark Moody-Stuart? Can global markets deliver economic growth while cutting carbon emissions? Are they the best tool to deliver a low carbon future? Or do we need a radical change in society because markets and regulations have failed to deliver the goods so far?
100% agree. Governments should force the issues otherwise what's the point of having MP's!
Minimum MPG standards should be set.
Minimum emission standards.
The whole lot should be overhauled for what the world needs, if the rich west does nothing to force these standard what will the rest of the world do when there boom comes!
Come on governments grow a spine!
Robert Carr, Manchester
Oh yes, sounds a great idea, not. Usual tripe from a toff. If I had his money I wouldn't mind spouting rubbish like that either. How many of his delivery trucks use bio fuel or have the latest filters on. How many of his forecourts have pumps for bio fuel? Not many I'll bet. Put your own house in order before telling the rest of us how to live our lives.
Angie Rowland-Stuart, Brighton, UK
I do agree, with him but does he know the carbon impact of building a car such as a hybrid. Exotic materials in batteries are not by no means carbon effcient.
These seem very sensible suggestions. Markets do provide solutions for problems in the most "natural" manner.
But they also need to be regulated because due to that evolutionary, almost lifelike flexibility markets will seek maximum gain regardless of a possible endpoint. Like true evolution, there is no ultimate goal.
And in a similar way to biological systems, resources will be consumed until fully depleted resulting in a catastrophic crash.
Regulating the markets into a sustainable direction is the best solution.
High mpg does not mean high efficiency, Sir Mark.
Efficiency is the amount of power you can develop from a certain amount of fuel. If you pour a litre of fuel into my MX5 and a Litre of the same fuel into a Ferrari the Ferrari can generate more kinetic energy from it. It's better engineered, not a calorie is wasted - it's more efficient!
If you are a misguided toff please, before you start making policy which is going to take away our lovely sports cars at least get you bloody terminology right and don't just make sweeping areshole statements.
coincidentally and somewhat ironically, i sit in maputo with riots going on outside - people rioting against government increases in the costs of taxis and buses. this article is seated deeply in reality and it is along these lines that we need to be thinking. Pie-in-the-sky, utopia-type dreaming that doesn't take into account economic reality will never become a political reality.
stuart williams, maputo, mozambique
By passing the tax on producers of fuel to the end used, the producers could continue as they are. It should be proportioned out at each stage of the process, a good example of this is the way in which charges are placed on the users and producers of packaging, where at each stage they pay a percentage of the tax. If all of the tax is placed on the end user this will not promote reasearch and development into new technologies. Lets face it all companies are driven by profits, and if it does not make an impact on them, why would they change.
Phil Thomson, Ampthill
In order to increase the GDP and reduce our carbon footprint, Britain mainly has to rely less on imports of fuel and energy technology, and more on exports of these items. In order to finance these technologies, Britain should use capital gains from existing fuel taxes. In that sense, is it logical to cut back consumption? The position taken here by Sir Mark on vehicle consumption is false as even the cleanest car (Smart) comes in at 0.88Kg of CO2/km. It will create more CO2 than my Land Rover (2.48kg/km) if used 3 times more occasionally. Britain needs to invest in radical technology such as fuel oil derived from Algae that will fuel existing power plants, cars, and planes. It will produce less CO2 thans in absorbs. There is a potential 3GW of wind energy sitting off our shores, let alone the tidal energy. I believe that you should give consumer choice for the source of our energy and invest in industry solutions rather than putting in place regulation that constrains ind!
ustry and has miss guided effect in reducing our carbon footprint.
Steve , France (Ex-pat Britain)
Sir Mark Moody-Stuart gives remarkable advice - we need this kind of level-headed thinking if we are to avoid getting to a point of no-return on climate change. I hope the government and the European Commission are listening....
Philippe Fraser, London, England
This still misses the fundamental problem with all these eco-schemes: it doesn't effect the biggest and fastest growing poluters eg. China.
So far all the panic in Europe has resulted in, not a decrease, in WORLD oil consumption/CO2 emmission but an INCREASE. We are not reducing emmissions: we are just relocating them.
As I switch to a low energy light bulb someone in China is buying an air-conditioner and opening this week's new gigawatt, coal fired power station.
Until someone gets round to addressing this issue I find all of this a bit of a joke.
Spot on. Politicians (when you have a spare moment from filling in your expences claim forms) please note.
Stephen Green, Correns France
being one of the millions of normal people around I cannot realy comment on Marks points although they seem to make sence.
However he has no chance of anyone if governments listening to him, regardless of how much sence he makes.
He spoilt it for them when he said more tax would not help, thats he only way they know of to deal with anything.
David, Durham, UK
It appears to me to be good sense.
Hugh Garrett, Lancing, UK
Moody Stuart is making sense but would be advised to begin any viewpoint with a qualification that he has personally profited from corporations which transferred millions of tons of coal and oil into our atmosphere during his tenure.
Alison, Melbourne, Australia
Not only do I disagree with Mark, but I disagree with the questions posed at the end of the article as well. I don't want "global markets" to "deliver economic growth while cutting carbon emissions." I want global markets to contract or disappear while humanity leaves fossil fuels in the ground and stops cutting down forests. Markets and regulations have delivered exactly what they were designed to deliver: increasing growth of destructive economic activities with just enough accountability to pacify the populace while the natural world is consumed and degraded. We don't need increasing economic growth as much as we need an inhabitable planet with clean water, clean air, healthy food, and sustainable shelters and livelihoods.
Steve, Colorado, US
I am a Shell employee, and upon reading this article I can say so with pride.
The largest problem is the US. During the CFC/ozone hole crisis the US took the lead in helping to solve the problems. Until the US agrees to such regulations the rest of the world will not follow.
Thom Potempa, Houston, TX
I believe that markets are the most efficient engines to bring about the necessary change in technology and in patterns of production and consumption. Since we are clearly in an emergency situation we need to make use of that engine, but we need to combine this with stronger global governance institutions (above all within the UN) to steer it and to help overcome the "blockage of nations". Hence, for me it's a joy to read that an ex-boss of Shell supports a global carbon market. Such a market can only work if there is mutual trust between the world's countries and regions. Hence, the rich countries should be allowed to demand from the poor countries who are able to sell that the funds be used in a way which is transparent, does not go to corrupt regimes, and helps fight poverty and disease. In return, the powerful nations would be obliged to disarm, to stop blocking the liberalization of the global market for labour, and to shift to more sustainable lifestyles.
So we could use the climate crisis as a catalyst for a global peace agreement! But perhaps I'm hopelessly optimistic...
Daniel, Salzburg, Austria
From say 2012 all new cars in the UK should have an MPG of at least 50, steadily increasing this standard over time. Manufacturers will find the technology but need legislation to stimulate them.
philip harden, Henley on Thames
Its a nice idea Sir Mark, but you forget one important thing.
The Governments love high polluting, inefficient cars because it means higher tax revenues from higher Petrol sales. Especially here in the UK.
The EU and/or any European country could easily ban all petrol cars by 2010 (already purchased cars exempt ofcourse) and with that the market would have a good efficient line up of alternative engines models that do not pollute ready for an affordable price. It is literally as simple as them saying "...banned from sale at 2010 onwards." It is as simple as this because they are the law makers and the companies will comply just to continue making money there.
Kevin, Swansea, Wales
I agree - the Government should be protecting the future from climate change as vigorously and actively as it is from terrorism.
The efficiency restrictions on goods and services need to include the construction and delivery efficiency as well as running efficiency; LED light bulbs often have one AC-DC converter per bulb, which takes considerable resources to produce, but buildings can be wired for DC with an efficient central converter. Etc for vehicles; use less aluminium and more wood laminate; don't weight doors with lead, use foamed lignin.
William Chamberlain, High Wycombe
Better kill the market than the planet, fun and variety is no good if it kills you. Consumerism patterns are often created by businesses and not by consumers, so regulation has been necessary and will be. All plastics should be of a recycleble quality( saving oil, energy and landfill), every tree felled should be replaced by five(some fruit trees, food, co2 sink, habitat) artificial reefs should be created in the oceans(designed to shred nets, provide extra habitat for fish stocks). Biofuel is crap, the land is for food. The most vital aspect for the whole world is a switch to an electrical and hydrogen power base. Consult, concur, create, ASAP.
pprice, LLandrindod Wells Powys Wales
I agree with Mark Moody-Stuart, that consumers need to be more informed and motivated than perhaps the current climate indicates. However one area that could be addressed quickly is personal transport.
I looked to convert my car to LPG last year only to find that there is no government incentive to do this, yet there used to be. Last time i checked the program was only open to companies.
Since most people can't afford the cost of the LPG conversion they stay with regular petrol, even though it is expensive & harmful to the environment.
A government program that actively promotes, assists & enables the public to convert to LPG would be a great step towards lowering carbon emissions in the UK
Les Teague, Windsor, UK
It seems that governments must make the step to overhaul the current energy situation and replace existing non renewable energy sources with renewable energy. I support any effort to unify constituents under the umbrella of cleaner air and healthier people and land.
Amy Dripchak, Juneau, AK USA
The common good globally will only come about with regulation. We must raise prices on fuel, add luxury taxes on inefficient vehicles, and put that money back into public transportation or rebates for small businesses and those who can't afford the rate hikes. Bumper-to-bumper traffic globally wastes enormous amounts of energy and money. And everyone would be in favor of moving traffic along. There are price points that will generate these improved results. The mayor of New York City will increase tolls on bridges and tunnels and congested streets. This will cut down on traffic and on fuel consumption. But these fare increases must go hand-in-hand with public transportation decreases and car pooling increases.
Bill Schwartz, Agoura Hills/CA/USA
What a perfect example of the mindlessness of those subsumed by the hysteria and new "religion" of global warming supposedly caused by Man.
An utter idiot, but one who apparently relishes the Stalinist control and succour of all left-wing socialist control freaks.
Paul Butler, Reading, UK
I agree with Mark Moody-Stuart. But not only should cars be limited by mpg but like fridges etc they should have a large indelible sticker on the back giving a green rating. The category should include a factor showing the amount of materials and power used in their manufacture modified by a rating for ongoing replacement of parts like tyres and oils. These numbers should be factored to the internal volume to show the overall efficiency of the vehicle. It is this as well as emmissions which could give a tax rate.
In this way everybody could judge the owners as saviors of planet earth. Successful people who can afford such ego machines should take the responsibility for giving out the correct message.
Worst are those mums in my kids school car park who compete to drive their only child in the biggest possible 4 x 4. A modern phenomenon. Female ego related to size. What message does this give to their children after their ecology lessons. Pure hypocrisy.
Very sincerely - Chris Freer NA (and 50mpg diesel VW)
Chris Freer, Lagos Portugal and UK
Sir Mark has obviously spent too much time at elevated altitudes on the executive jet. Would he ban a 34 mpg vehicle that transports 5 people yet allow a 35 mpg vehicle that is used by a single person? His ideas for regulation are not well thought out. On the other hand taxing fuel and thereby raise fuel prices would have the effect that he desires. Pity the poor people of the UK who already pay 4x the base price for fuel due to taxation.
It is also interesting to note that the technologies that he claims have had most success through regulation ("unleaded gasoline, catalytic converters on the exhausts of cars or seatbelts and airbags") were all first required in that great Satan, the USA, and only then did the rest of the world follow suit.
Joe Blow, Pittsburgh, PA. USA
This is brilliant. It is just the kind of clear thinking that is needed. Lets hope our politicians can take this forward and achieve some progress towards the goal of using less fuel and producing less carbon dioxide.
Dr Iain H Littley, Huntingdon
Yes to a graeter extent i do agree with Mr Stuart but he forgot one important point, planting of more trees to absorb the corbonmonoxide.a lot of trees are being cut in the developing world to provide fuel,rich Natoins should finance the development of hydro eletric power and finance the planting of more trees coz they're the major poluters.
Paul Ssembeguya, London
completely agree, particularly with the proposition regarding regulation of efficiency constraints which leave the market choice as to method of achieving them...
(and ban Hummers!)
In fact if we want to cut carbon by 50% and still achieve any economic growth we will need to learn to achieve 1 unit of GDP with about 40% of the carbon it takes to make one today in 2028, rather than 50%. This would allow an increase in world economic output by 20% over the next 20 years, and avoid the enormous recession which would result from having no growth (50% carbon cost, 50% total output)
Yes, absolutely. It's so obvious I wonder that it needs stating. No doubt our cowardly politicions will baulk at such an obvious and long-overdue move, and no doubt the motoring lobbies will whinge, in their selfish and childish way. If we are serious about our planet this has to happen immediately.
The carbon tax is the way to go, and what Sir Mark proposes might be politically feasible. However, to be truly effective, regulations should be a last resort and the tax should be far higher -- and returned to the people. Nothing unleashes creativity like the urge to avoid taxes. The world will benefit far more from armies of inventors than from armies of lawyers.
David Collins, Chicago, IL, USA
Surely what should be focused on is how much C02 people produce, not how they produce it. If I choose to drive a Ferrari that does 14mpg for 3000 miles each year it produces 1/3 of someone driving a 45mpg hybrid 30000 miles per year. Simply to say, 'I drive an efficient vehicle, therefore I am green' is naive'.
Neil Fraser, Scotland
My partner and I cycle to work - all well and green you might say, but we also both own cars that do very low mpg. One that averages about 15mpg and the other probably mid 20's if we're lucky. Why should we be penalised when we average a COMBINED mileage of about 5000 a year and others who have 'eco friendly' cars do many more miles? Also, when we talk about carbon emisssions, are we including the manufacturing in this? Our 2 cars which are also both over 5 years old are well maintained, run well and we aim to not use them for short, inefficient journeys that are bad for the cars. I wager most journeys are short journeys that produce the most pollutants. People need educating properly, not propaganda from the government trying to make more money wherever possible.
Sarah, Swindon, UK
I absolutely agree, people who can afford top end gas guzzlers are not affected by deterrents such as higher taxes and running costs, if they can afford a car worth half a house then surely a few hundred extra pounds on tax is a drop in the ocean and won't affect them much at all.
People have a duty of care to the world they live in as well as each other. Instead of cars becoming more efficient with time they seem to get less so, my Dad has a 1930's Morgan sports car and he gets 55 mpg out of that, and that's over 70 years old!
Also people who owns such large vehicles shouldn't then complain about lack of parking or traffic, with more cars and bigger cars there's just going to be more traffic, if you want to get anywhere in town it's often easier to cycle.
Claire H, Inverness
ow refreshing to see a captain of industry berating our feeble government for its lack of regulatory nerve. How can it be right to allow the chosen few to foul the planet just because they are rich enough to do so. The sooner these recommendations are enforced the better for everyone, including the rich.
William Prescot, Leamington, UK
There is more than reason to cut fossil fuel consumption. There is growing evidence that the world is at or very close to the geologic limit of the rate that oil can be pumped out of the ground. Most of the easy oil has gone, it needs more and more investment in human, economic and material resources to keep pumping the same amount of oil out of the ground, and we are beginning to lose the race. We have been burning more oil than we have discovered each year in new reserves for thirty years. That rate of consumption cannot go on. Add in accelerating demand from developing countries and you get a major, irrevocable energy crisis. That is a very good reason to ban inefficient cars.
Ralph Williams, Cambridge
I agree with him. I have a high performance car which, possibly, just does 35mpg if driven carefully. But, I am sure that if it became a legal requirement throughout the EU manufacturers would develop the technology to meet the standard at a reasonable cost. Using tax as a solution is wrong as it penalises those unable to pay.
What's worse? A Jaguar driver who works from home and does 2000 miles a year (me)? Or the increasing number who drive 100 miles to and from work each day?
Until we build communities from the ground up with the environment in mind, where people work close to there they live, any imposition of limits is just tinkering; or worse, a sticking plaster which embeds our increasingly wasteful habits.
Marcus Whitfield, Winchester
The main cause of carbon dioxide emissions is too many humans on the earth. We can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we produce, but we cannot stop it and life for everyone will get very miserable.
In the U.K there is no reason to have air conditioning, importing people, and inefficient vehicles. Stop those three and carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by 30% which will give you time to improve some technologies and help reduce the misery. DJY
David Young, Canada
"To achieve the same through taxation would mean fuel taxes at levels which would play havoc with industry, countryside dwellers and the poor who need transport."
would taxation not affect people's behaviour such that they dont live in the middle of nowhere and commute for miles, it irritates me that a sports car owner who cycles to work payes more car/fuel tax than a hybrid owner who does 30'000 miles a year despite the hybrid owner producing far more CO2. People can choose to live near their work place
william pugsley, cambridge
Many politicians say that climate change is the biggest threat we face. Yet they won't even enforce existing laws (eg speed limits on motorways)let alone bring in new ones. Contrast this with terrorism (2nd greatest threat?): ID cards, detention without trial, unlimited surveillance...
In line with most Soviet style thinking that abounds today. Wealth has always brought choice, the parallel of a coal fire is at best parsimonious in its logic. Wealthy people would turn up the thermostat rather than toast a crumpet! The elephant in the room is population growth NOT a minority driving cars you might disapprove of. Might be better discussing the dubious science & self serving politics of "climate change" too.
Tom Taylor-Duxbury, Ludlow & UK
This is great coming from an ex-oil man. It is exactly what is needed. Govt legislation push from one side, and attitude change in people from the other. The analogies of coal fires and catalytic converters are spot on.
Woods, NY USA
No I completely disagree with Mark Moody-Stuart, taxation and carbon trading is a scam to elicit more money from the tax payer.
Governments have an insatiable need to take our money to buy votes; this global warming issue is the latest scam with which to manipulate the masses.
The money raised will only partially be used to fund the latest fad wind power etc and much will be siphoned off to finance other Governmental spending.
There is and always will be climate change, if humankind wishes to limit its influence upon this it needs to restrict its numbers, and that as we all know would be completely unpalatable especially to the major religions, as politically they require ever increasing numbers.
The Planet does not need us to save it; the Planet will do quite nicely with or without us along for the ride.
eric brown, cheshunt uk
I applaud Sir Mark for presenting such a well balanced and progressive package for change. He has clarified the positive role of regulation, and the limitations of taxation as a tool for change. So many people feel dismayed that despite changes they are making to their own energy consumption habits, by driving more efficient cars, making short journeys on foot or by bicycle, using low energy light bulbs, insulating their houses, etc, a considerable swathe of the public continue live as if oblivious of the environmental and energy resource crisis on which the rest of us are focused. Banning the import and manufacture of "gas guzzlers" will be immensely popular because wealthy people will no longer have the option to buy their way out of their obligation to comply and make a positive contribution to a better global environment. The Government must listen to Sir Mark and get on with it.
Tim Court, New Malden, UK
Shell sell V-Power which is fuel especially developed for performance cars, most of which deliver low MPG. Will they stop selling this fuel?
Indeed his company has made vast profits from performance cars which is why he is where he is and in a place to comment? Slightly hypocritical?
Cars are always picked on and when it comes to climate change theory however, we should concentrate on the bigger areas of Co2 emissions like big corporations!
Simon Cook, Harlow, Essex
Oh, thank you Sir!
The world needs to hear more options like these: those extra taxes being paid to compensate for polluting vehicles simply can't be expected to reverse the damage done to our air and our lungs.
anni, glenview, US
I just wonder what qualifications Sir Mark posseses. Is he a climatologist or his he just jumping on the global warming bandwagon,having been taken in by these so called climate experts.Perhaps he hopes that he will receive some reward, like Al Gore, for towing the line on the big climate change con. I am no scientist but I do understand that the pollution emitted by motor vehicles is very small indeed, when compared with other polluters.I certainly will not be influenced in the way I live, because of the 'threat of climate change'
R Chapman, Middlesbrough UK
Ban this, ban that. The EU interferes enough. I'm sick of hearing calls for government or the EU to ban things. Forcing choices on people is NOT the solution. It would be better if the EU would realise people will make choices based on their own perception of what benefits them, not by having things rammed down their throats by well-meaning (?) know-it-alls. We cannot all afford to replace our older, less efficient cars for brand new ones. As for hybrids, the jury is definitely still out on how much of an improvement they might be.
And all of this is a bit much coming from a man who lined his pockets at our expense while chairman of an oil company. Damned cheek, I'd say!
Andy, Vantaa, Finland
Sir Mark's approach has to be the way forward. Whatever we think of the established market systems, quite simply nothing will happen without them. We have to start from where we are; to force through radical change against powerful vested interests and a fickle and ill-informed public is just a waste of more time and hot air.
Emphatically no. My hobby -- kitesurfing -- takes me to beaches around the UK. I have a converted van in which I sleep by the beach. The van gets 23-28 mpg. Not a lot I know but consider this: the sport itself uses just wind power for an entire day's entertainment and as I have a van I am not in the market for a second home that would have a far bigger carbon footprint than a mildly inefficient vehicle. I wonder if Sir Mark has a second home and would like to compare the environmental impact of that to me driving a van? What about people who like to spend their weekends racing cars on racetracks or lounging in spas or in heated swimming pools? That's OK but driving a vehicle just below Sir Mark's mpg limit is not? I am disappointed by such a crude proposal from someone who should understand complexity, having been chairman of Royal Dutch/Shell.
James Barabas, London, UK
When will Shell stop gas flaring?
Mark, Swindon, UK
I have made it my mission to show my fellow Canadians that you can live very comfortably on less than half the energy a typical Canadian uses. My electricity consumption is 20-25% that of a typical Canadian home. My natural gas use is around 70% of the "norm". My cars, a VW TDI and a *smart* probably burn 1/3 of the fuel a typical Canadian car uses. Yet I have not managed to get any politicians to visit our house and see how comfortable our lifestyle actually is. Sad really . . .
Peter Bursztyn, Barrie, Ontario, Canada
I have to say I completely agree with Sir Mark, I hear politicains claiming the care about the environment and some of them are quite convincing. But will they do this? Will they hell, the car manufactuers will lobby very hard to prevent such a thing happening and quiet frankly the environment(or it's supporters) can't afford the backhanders and lavish dinners. We have not a hope that such a sensible approach will ever be be considered after the promise of a nice well paid job(non-job) when the policitian gives up politics is up for grabs.
Akbal Randhawa, Gravesend
Yes,global markets can deliver economic growth while cutting carbon emissions.If we all agree that we need to go towards low carbon emissions,we can start with what we have.Any radical change in society can go either way and create other problems.
Dina Hatzipavlu, Soest / Nederland
The advantage with using taxation is that the government could and should cut income tax, so that consumers have a choice of whether to buy an efficient item or a less efficient alternative. This would place a value on the investment required. A market may well work, but it really need to include all of us, not just the large polluters so that we make everyday choices to consume whilst causing less pollution.
I agree that building standards need to be improved, but the government should also be carrying out leadership in adapting current buildings to be more efficient. The government has large numbers of buildings - hospitals, prisons, schools, etc. These could all see, at a minimum solar water heating as well as other technologies. A start has been made to this in the Outer Hebrides, where schools have wind turbines.
Arthur Embleton, Salford, United Kingdom
I think it is fantastically encouraging to see business leaders such as Mark M-S taking global warming on board and thinking seriously about how we can address the problems involved. Well done.
Aviation is not even mentioned !
This is the true cause of global warming.
Nick Turner, Harrow
Fine words and sentiment - I tend to agree with his views.
I don't believe however, our current politicians or planners, will be so keen on the idea as it makes far too much sense.
Politicains and planners prefer bribes as opposed to proper regulation of the few wealthy people who may see thier profits suffer if these ideas were implemented.
Large cars are far less polluting than mid range or small cars, because there are so few of them. To reduce car pollution significantly we must reduce the overall number of vehicles on the road that produce harmfull emmisions. A 50% reduction in 'ordinary' cars will be more effective than a 100% reduction in gas guzzlers.
Tom Roberts, Derby, UK
UK industry is just as guilty as "Gas Guzzlers"
around about half of the AC electric motors bought by industry in Europe today are already illegal in Australia, Canada and wait for it . The United States of America. They are illegal because they are inefficient. You may not think this matters but 46% of allelectricity in Europe is consumed by AC electric motors. Other countries have banned these but in europe we only have a "tootheless" voluntary Efficiency banding scheme.
Roger Bennett, Stoke - on Trent England
Does anyone else find the timing of this opinion somewhat ironic given Sir Mark's former company's announcement last week?
It is a fact that cars are necessarily getting heavier. Modern safety standards dictate to the car makers what they have to put in to a car to make it safe for passengers, other cars and pedestrians.
And your hybrid that will do 100mph, I notice you do not mention what mpg figures it returns?
Andrew, Hamilton, Lanarkshire
For cars, I would not ban the inefficient ones - this is going too far against personal choice.
What I propose is to tax the inefficient cars heavily. I suggest an annual road tax regime along the following lines:
less than 15 miles per gallon - £2,000
less than 20 mpg - £1500
less than 30 mpg - £1000
less than 40 mpg - £500
above 40mpg - £50
This is using the market in a clear and simple fashion. If you want a gas guzzler - you'll pay for it.
And with a scheme like this, the bands and the prices can be adjusted over time to make cars with high consumption ever more expensive to own.
Mike Edwards, Romsey, England
Its all very well for Sir Mark-Moody Stuart to preach about fuel efficent cars from someone who held an esteemed position but who was probably chauffered about in a "Not fuel efficient vehicle" as most high profile people are!
Do I not see everyday on TV the prime minister being driven about in a Jaguar with Range Rovers trailing behind!!!!!
I have 2 non efficient cars 3.2 litre Merc & 4.0 litre Jag, the first covers approx 5000 miles per year the latter 2000 miles. I can assure you that I polute the environment less than your average 1.0 litre car driven every day!
Remember not to class us all in the same bracket!
Douglas Ronald, Kirkcaldy/Fife
Not only is Sir Mark Moody absolutely correct. He just became somebody for whom I have a lot of regard.
So many people are willing to disregard their humanity in this day and age. We're much more robust than we give ourselves credit for. Good on you Sir Moody.
Arno Hayes, Cape Town, South Africa
At last, someone with a bit of sense instead of all this global warming hype that is bandied about. Yes, we as a race are responsible for some of the problems but the Earth has had periods of heat and cold for billions of years. This suggestion is sensible and does not impact on world economies in fact it could enhance them.
Chris Wright, Penrith
It's very encouraging that such a high profile figure is saying these things.
No doubt the Clarkson, Hammond, May circus act will do their upmost to trash this view. Whilst I find their clowning very entertaining, from an environmental perspective it's time to move on.
Martin S, Ribble Valley
Sir Mark proposes what is obvious BUT no-one will do as he suggest. Why I hear you ask? No-one cares. The crisis will happen and then people will care simply because it affects them directly. We have today a 24 hour society. We are losing that circadian rhythm which regulates ALL of life, both flora and fauna. Nocturnal birds are dying out, there is no night, kids are sleep deprived and are suffering as a consequence, human health and well being is deteriorating. It is all a consequence of trying to live the 24 hour day. We are just too blinded by the light to see the truth. There are none so blind as those who will not see. Like those who will simply ignore Sir Mark's advice just because its easier to do so.
Graham Cliff, Timperley UK
I agree entirely with Mark Moody-Stuart. If manufacturers are happy with the products they make and purchasers are happy buying them, then the only way to achieve economies in energy use is by legislation. Very few people outside of the agricultural sector need a 4x4 vehicle. There is no need at all for a road car to go faster than 70mph, although most of us drive faster because we can! Accelerating from 0-60 in under 10 seconds? Dream on - no-one needs to do this and yet this is a parameter frequently cited in car comparisons. Apart from energy efficiency, road safety would undoubtedly benefit too.
George Olivier, Haywards Heath
Hybrids that tow in excess of 2000 kg don't exist (the Lexus RX400h's limit is 2000 kg). Cars that will tow in excess of 2000 kg and do 35 mpg don't exist either (I drive the most economical car I could find, it returns 34 mpg and meets my towing requirements). Perhaps some thought should be given to road users who need to tow before making rash generalisations?
Terry Large, Crawley, England
If the government would offer to help move people from older cars to newer more efficent cars then that would be great.
However most people who drive older, less efficent cars do so, because the newer more efficent ones are too expensive to purchase.
I personally believe more effort should be made to investigate using water as a fuel.
Current research shows that CO2 is not the evil producer of climate change but an essential gas without which life would be impossible. Whilst I am in agreement with the wise use of resources I also think that individual choice is important. Drivers of larger cars, for whatever reason, pay in extra VED and fuel tax due to the extra consumption. If you carry these thoughts to their logical conclusion you would limit families to two children, all homes would have to comply with a zero emissions policy and travel would be limited to a few miles per week. What a dreadful world that would be! And all this for no scientific reason other than a few environmentalists with the desire to have a controling interest in dictating to everyone else.
John Marshall, Horncastle, Lincs. UK
It is just so logical. If only the political parties had enough backbone to push this through to law.
J E, Melton Mowbray, Leics
I worked with Shell for some time. My boss met Sir Mark, and I met many senior people right through to Sir Phil Watts, before his demise. One thing all of these people at that level understand (except for Exxon) is that oil production is plateauing. Demand from China, India and many others would accept much more than the world currently produces. This is why oil is towards the $100/barrel. A combination of this growing demand, political uncertainty in many of the producing countries and the depletion of oil fields means that the UK will soon be required to work with half the supply of oil we currently get. Sir Mark is absolutely right.
Peter Neal, Manchester
Mark Moody-Stuart makes an excellent case: without a clear incentive to change, we never will. But you must bring people with you, and talk of banning anything (yes, even evil lightbulbs or 4x4s) will put people off and make this an issue of personal freedom. Instead, tax inefficient devices heavily and use the funds to subsidise cleaner alternatives. So by all means drive an Aston, but be prepared to pay to subsidise 5 smaller cars to compensate. Noone ever said that freedom of choice had to be free.
Jonathan Tasker, Cambridge
Another attack on cars, when will people get over it, Global warming, not conclusive, a nice way to get extra tax out of everyone though. The world goes through cycles none stop, and always will. The earth has been far hotter in the past before humans, industry or 4x4's were invented, so who was to blame for that? Dino and T-rex in their MPV????
The world is going to have masses of CO2 inputted into it by the developing world, maybe if more effort was invested in helping their industry be more efficient rather than penalising EU industry and more importantly the consumers then we could all live happily without the green-mentalists getting hysterical about what comes out of an exhaust pipe. Get in your G-whizz (mmm where does electric come from) and hope you get crushed by a Range Rover.
Well, you can't argue that markets and regulations have failed to deliver the goods so far, because such regulations haven't been in place - it can't be judged. It's certainly the approach which would deliver the least social disruption. But can future regulations be as effective as we need? Let's hope so. It's not a question of saving the Earth - the Earth will still be around long after us - it's a question of keeping the Earth habitable for the whole of humanity.
get a life.another rich guy telling the poor not to aspire to get the good things he's already got in life.who makes him a godfather to dictate on what people can and can have
paul swaggs, doncaster
High-cost marques like Landrover and Porsche should be encouraged by the engineering challenge invoked by an article like this.
In the same way that Formula-1 in the 70's and 80's brought great technological marvels to high-end production cars that eventually made it to everyday car, this should be seen as a pioneering engineering challenge!
Mark, Colchester, Essex
Double standards or what-this guy has probably made millions out of oil and now probably sits on a very fat pension from Shell, he can afford to do/say what he likes even though some of what he says is right.
Perhaps he should be calling for a super tax on Shell and the others to pay for research into new fuels/energy production instead of picking on drivers all the time. Oh, but of course Shell etc would make less money if we all drove electric cars! Sorry, my silly idea.
Take a look at Tesla cars in America to see what's already possible in terms of fantastic electric cars, if the industry wanted-too many vested interests though!
Mr Morris, Wrexham
Mark Moody-Stuart is spot on. "The market" negates long term planning. Regulation is the only way of moving towards a sustainable future. This is true in many more spheres than energy policy alone. "The market" has turned the UK into a nation where shops are full of junk in bubble packs - not a butcher, greengrocer or hardware store in sight - and this also contributes to our inefficient use of energy. Can Mark Moody-Stuart offer a way forward here?
Shaun Pye, Leeds
At last, sensible comment on a complex issue. I drive a large engined petrol used car. Am I comfortable with this, not really, but I cycle to work most days (10 miles each way) and only do 5000 miles a year. When finances allow I will change to a more efficient, but equally fun to drive, newer model. If setting efficiency limits will force manufacturers to produce, exciting, fun and 'clean' cars, and I think it will, then we should all be in support of them.
Andy Baxter, London
It's not just about climate change. There is a school of thought that says we should make the best use of the limited resources on the planet rather than wasting them. This will become increasingly important as other countries like China and India attain the same standard of living as Western countries. If we don't make better use of the resources, the competition for them will be great and will lead to price increases and eventually war.
Rob H, London
A very nice and clear and positive piece, but we really need to get cracking on those "regulatory frameworks", Sir Mark, first to get them adopted across the board by the world's major pollutor's, so that's the U.S., China and Europe, so there's a major diplomatic effort right there, then the remainder of the BRIC block, that's Russia, India and Brazil, a second major diplomatic effort... Only then will you be in any position to achieve the same throughout the rest of the world. Personally I'm all for calling a spade a spade, I'm not politically very correct, so I'd start inspecting on those standards, taxing and banning straight away and we will just have to cope with it I'm afraid.
P.Dough, Welwyn Garden City, England
Of course Sir Mark is right. Most of us will happily agree to restraints which apply to all of us and past legislation, such as the clean air act (as he so cogently points out) proves the point. But it should go further. We should be limiting the temperature to which offices, shops, public areas of private buildings and workplaces are heated or cooled. It should be a requirement that lights automatically go out in unoccupied offices and factories. We have to approach this problem from as many angles as possible, now, not in a few years time.
Der Hecht, London, UK
Regulation and tax is the only way forward. Governments needs to step up and force people and companies into action. Tax on emissions should increase year by year until its cheaper to change than pay the tax. After all, the people/companies who can afford to pay the tax will pay it rather than changing the way they live/work until they're forced to change.
David, Hemel Hempstead
In the UK we can start by trying to change our culture towards work. If I stand at the end of my road on a weekday morning there will be hundreds of cars queuing spewing out pollution, and the same again in the evening. My gas guzzling car sits in my driveway emmting not one ounce of pollution because I work from home. We all now have the technology available to work from home on our own initiative, if only we could get over this "office/classroom" mentality.
Neil Robertson, St Albans UK
So, Mr Moody-Stuart drives a Hybrid does he? I wonder if he's aware that the stated fuel efficency figures are hugely inflated and that in "real-world" scenarios these cars rarely do better than 30mpg around town (and certainly wont at 100mph!) I also wonder how many miles a year he does? I do no more than 3000 combined in my two cars and either walk, cycle or use public transport for shorter journeys. So even if I have a gas-guzzler, I'm sure my overall travel carbon footprint is substantially less than his.
Grant Fuller, Rustington, West Sussex
I believe Mr Moody-Stuart is a little naive about the power of the market to affect sufficient change. However, it is a positive sign that someone coming from the ultra-capitalist end of the political/social spectrum finally admits that change needs to happen. There has been denial for too long by those in high places. Ultimately, human survival is more important than profit or capitalist economies.
Vince Millett, Croydon
Sir Mark is absolutely correct. Urban 4X4's should be banned, they are the biggest joke ever played on consumers who don't realise how silly they look in them. But how will you prevent the "Thatcher Selfish Generation" from giving a hoot about the environment or anyone else for that matter. Logic is wasted on them.
What Sir Mark has not mentioned, which is the so-called 'elephant in the room' and is something I am sure he is familiar with, is the global peaking of oil supplies. That will have devastating consequences unless we plan for it. Sir Mark's suggestions echo the sentiments of fellow 'oil man' Thierry Desmarest who has called on governments to reduce oil demand growth to delay the peak. Time to act!
James Noakes, Liverpool, UK
I am in total agreement that wealth does not not buy an individual/buisness the right to pollute at will. The carbon offsetting businesses that exist and any "carbon credit card" scheme based on a market where additional credits could be purchased would make reinforce this misconception. We need to cut our emissions, not just ease our conisiences.
Richard Gregory, Chester
I agree with Sir Mark Mood-Stuart.
Markets can solve the problem, provided the government makes sure they're being harnessed to do it, and isn't as spineless as ours has proven to be.
Mark Richardson, Durham, UK
I think only allowing cars with 35mpg efficiency is a great idea! Providing that the same organisation responible for this Stalinist approach ensure that congestion around our cities is reduced. It wouldnt be fair to measure fuel efficency in the massively congested cities we all live in - stop start city traffic means that even the most frugal car slips below this draconian level. So, prior to this measure being introduced I look forward to vastly improved bus routes, train services, bypasses, extra lanes etc etc etc. You know, an INTEGRATED APPROACH TO TRAVEL, rather then knee jerk single issue politics. Honestly, these idiots in their ivory towers have no idea.
james wright, nottingham
I'm pleased that Mr. Moody-Stuart has noted the potential impact of crude fuel taxes on countryside dwellers. We're an urban nation, so country dwellers are a small minority, but - it's a true cliche that everything costs more in the country, especially if you're not on all mains services. You think electricity and mains gas price rises are steep? Try bulk propane gas...Country dwellers also suffer from an image problem. They are not all wealthy middle class commuters or retirees. It's young, poorly-paid rural workers who take care of the countryside we all value so much. Mr MMS's strategy seems a plausible balance of the market and regulation, and that, I think, would serve the countryside better than crude fuel tax rises.
tim clark, beaumaris, uk
I like cars more than most people but I have to agree with Sir Mark. There is no justification for new cars which can't achieve 35mpg. Presumably we should then go on to limit the number of personal flight people can take. Harder to enforce though, and the rich could easily get round it.
Tim Bedford, Cambridge
One issue rarely commented on by the pundits who discuss these thisngs is that concerning the thousands of motorists with disablities who have to drive automatic vehicles. These cars are normally less fuel efficient than manual cars. Not only do these drivers need to pay a highter price for their vehicles in the first place, the government persists in discriminating against those who really need automatics through higher levels of Road duty. Now Sir Mark wants to join in and ban their cars. Unless hybrid drive cars are available at a more realistic price this would be grossly unfair
Graham Culver, Corsham
At last someone has said the obvious. There is no need for any private vehicle that does less than 35mpg. This and the London pollution charge area are a start at tackling emmisions from road vehicles. We now need a similar approach to other sources of global warming emissions.
Looking at the various goevrnment web sites conecrning climate change (and there are too many), the DTI site is the least serious about climate change. With few concrete policies except encouraging us balefully to drive more slowly. Not a thing about the car industry's responsibilities to cut emissions and road speeds.
The DTI needs to develop a stronger strategy against CO2 emissions and the responsiility of the car industry. We need to have cars that do 60mgp, with CO2 emissions of less than 120g/100km (the new proposed EU limits). Today most cars widely advertised for sale in UK (have alook at the newpapers) quote 160-300 g/100km.
Antony Watts, Palma Spain
Perhpas Sir Mark would like to ensure his own house is in order before telling the rest of us how we should live our lives. Perhaps Sir Mark CEO of Anglo-American, the company that owns Tarmac, could tell us exactly how he is contribuing to the green effort? How about Anglo americans use of cyanide, heavy metals and acid mines drainage? How about the abuse and repression of local people that hapopen to live on a site where Anglo-American would like to mine?
Get your own house in order, and then I might listen to what you have to say, Sir Mark. Until then, you have no credibility whatsoever in this field.
Pete brant, Worthing UK
Banning filament lamps in homes is a good idea, cant we do the same for vehicles too,and use large led's or floresent lighting to save fuel?
We do need a change in society, and i think world population needs to be regulated too.
Robert Richards, ATHERSONE WARWICKSHIRE UK
Let's be clear; this is not a proposal to ban gas guzzlers. It would wipe out half the new cars on the market. Is that supporting the market and consumer choice?
The EU is working on a new car regulation and our customers already pay through the nose in road and fuel tax if they choose a higher emitting model. What we need to drive the market further are incentives, not a rather ludicrous call to ban mainstream models like people carriers, family saloons and estate cars.
Nigel Wonnacott (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), London
I've tried some of the new low-energy bulbs with mixed results. They're fine for background lighting but I still want the freedom to buy incandescent bulbs for use in Anglepoise type lamps (I'll bet Sir Mark has never tried to sew on nametapes using a low-energy bulb). Not everyone can afford to replace existing lights - throwing out and replacing unnecessarily will mean greater production and pollution in China. N.B. I too drive a hybrid (Toyota Prius) and my husband has just ordered one - we don't see the price of petrol dropping any time soon.
Elizabeth Northey, Guernsey, C.I.
I completely agree with your comments that "...The EU should ban the sale of cars that do under 35 miles to the gallon...". This simple act will bring home the importance of reducing CO2 and ensure that everyone is in it together. In fact I would express it as the CO2 output rather than mpg and go a bit further:
Ban sales of new cars over 300 g/km with a three month period with a long term stated plan to reduce this further each year. Say 275 by the following year, then 250 the next and so on. Could be combined with an auction for "right to buy" permits for the next level of car down similar to Singapore.
If Mark Moody-Stuart has only one home which is a one bedroom flat then he has a right to demand that gas guzzlers be banned. If not he is being totally hypocritical as homes generate as much CO2 as cars. Setting averge Co2 limits for cars ( as the USA has alrady done and the EU is trying to do now) is one thing as it allows choice at a price within an effective CO2 policy.
Just banning the Co2 sources you do not like is not using the market to efficiently allocate CO2 reduction investment which is what he is also arguing for in his article.
Mr Moody Stuart also quotes 5p on a litre of transport fuel but ignores the fact that fuel is already taxed at 200% versus 5% (VAT) for domestic fuel.
tony scales, watford, england
Why hang the anti-pollution debate on climate change which is not a universally accepted theory.
Why make pedestrians breathe poisons emitted by people riding past in diesels and other highly polluting vehicles?
The free market has shown Americans that they love electric cars. There are new engines under development as a result that will power cars electrically at one fifth the price/environmental cost of gas/petrol.
Guilt-ridden ex-Shell executives shouldn't be worrying about regulation, but instead what to do with a redundant oil industry in ten years time. That will be the real challenge when electricity can power cars with battery technology ten times more efficient than it is now.
Fine article, if you can afford it. Most of us poor plebs that have to work for a living can't!. CO2 is up because of 150 YEARS of exploitation by industrialists like Sir Mark and their populations. To use market forces to turn an economy around (especially with the fiscal reluctance to embrace the new here in the UK) may take 50 to 70 years! We haven't got that many MONTHS! And we working plebs haven't got the cash!
DT, Birmingham UK
You do not fool me, Sir Mark. You may have fooled everyone else: most people clearly would prefer to think they are "saving the climate" rather than entertain the unpleasant truth this global warming thing is a smokescreen for. The facts are that we ARE producing less energy, we shall continue to produce less of it, and the culture of today with private cars and aviation - ia doomed. The world has reached Peak Oil and soon Peak Gas. After this point, no matter how much money you put into it, these resources decrease and get more expensive. That is why you are also being a little disingenuous, in my opinion, when you say that this CO2 tax will only add 5 p on the cost of a litre fuel. The only thing effectivity will change is put off the day when we must live differently. CO2 emmisions, by the way, will for the above reason, peak within ten years of themselves, and then come down (together with fossil based energy) WHATEVER we do.
Christopher Briggs, Leirfjord, Nor!
Good to see Mr Moody-Stuart 'seeing the light' after all those years flogging oil as if it were to lst forever! This energy efficiency is only the tip of a large iceberg called Planet Earth. How to we curb excess? How do we convince people to be more frugal with their lifestyles? How do we stop destroying the planet's habitats as they are the REAL key to this, not just putting a cap on carbon dioxide. It is time we stopped this knee jerk reaction to everything and started joining the socio-ecological dot-to-dots. EVERYTHING is connected.
David Foxen, Prebensdorf Stadt
Sir Moody-Stuart's observations are quite correct. Markets are a remarkable means to an end, but must sometimes be directed towards the appropriate end, if ideally in broad terms only . The only question I have is about the desirability carbon tax, which would remove responsibility for determining prices and allocating resources from the market (for which such activities are areas of strength) and reassign them to central planners (for whom such activities are areas of weakness). I am aware that economists tend to favor a carbon tax over a trading mechanism, and perhaps they are correct, but I would like someone to address this in more detail.
MJ Kuhns, Elyria, Ohio, U.S.A.
Absolutely typical that an ex-Shell Chairman is now leaping on the 'save the planet' bandwagon. One wonders if its to garner any respect, given his former occupation?!
It wouldn't take a great leap to bet that he wouldn't be spouting these comments if he were still the Chairman of Shell, would he?
Hypocritical, to say the least, especially now he's had his pay-off from Shell!
I suggest you enjoy your retirement, and quit lecturing the rest of us who still have to get from A to B - however we choose to, to WORK!!
Steve Phoenix, London
I think this guy is a little nieve about the power of greed. I would love to think that Big Business was socialy consiencous however personal experience has showen me that you have to pass tough laws with strick penalty in order to make a difference with large corporations. In other words the risk and penalty has to far out way the gains they would recieve by breaking the law.
Large corporations say that it will be to costly for them to change to a more enviromentaly friendly practice. Governments should tell the management of these companies that they are just going to have to get by with an Audi instead of a Ferrari
Gregory L Weaver II, Ogden UT USA
What is suggested could only be done with a replacement fuel such as hydrogen because of the range of different types of replacements necessary (home heating, plant boiler firing, transport). The trick is to produce sufficient quantities at low cost which up to now has been impossible, but I'm working on it. It's also obvious that no one individual or organisation can decide on a radical change in society as I understood (perhaps mistakenly) that we were supposed to be living within a democratic framework.
Jim (me again), Derby
'Opinion polls consistently show that people are prepared to change their ways to tackle climate change - but only if their neighbours are forced to do the same.'
Spot on,push the government into action. We are way behind Germany and The Netherlands
Ross Earnshaw, Bicester United Kingdom
I totally agree with you, I think there many thing everyone can do to reduce global warming. The main problem is not enough people are doing there bit to help.
Helen Palmer, West Wycombe, England
Banning big gas-guzzlers that do less than 20mpg is a good idea. However, it needs to be done as part of an integrated approach to transport. Our train system does not integrate well with our bus system, and rail transport does accomodate road distribution "for the last mile". A first step (banning something - "a stick") will only be accepted if there is a better way "carrot" well articulated in the government's strategy for all transport.
stephen bashforth, Leicester
Totally agree. I recently changed my Aston Martin / VW Phaeton 6.0 W12 for a Skoda TDi following an "opening of eyes" to the environment ( a friend bought me An Inconvenient Truth and another bought me The Big earth Book). I defy any intelligent person to watch/read these two & not change their ways.
The best thing is that once I have done this I have noticed NO difference at all to the time it takes to get from A-to-B as the marginal real-world slowness of the car is more than offset by not having to fill up so often... twice a day on occasions.
simon biltcliffe, Barnsley, UK
Mark Moody-Stuart misses the point. The way we generate energy has created our global warming but energy consumption of itself is not the problem. Emerging technologies can generate all the energy we require without pollution (so long as vested interests allow it). The problem is our consumption of all resources, not just our consumption of oil and coal. Global warming which seems to be occupying most peoples minds is the best argument against Mark Moody-Stuart's faith in the market. The market is littered with examples of the best technologies being killed off by powerful businesses marketing inferior technologies (e.g. Microsoft Windows). The market has no morals, no heart and operates on the principle of might is right. Still Nature does its sums honestly and we will eventually be forced to do the same.
Doubting Don, Australia
I generally agree with Sir Mark. The mechanism that he is outlining is called 'Contraction and Convergence' which requires us all to begin living within our carbon quota - a gradually decreasing ration of carbon dioxide output to bring us to a sustainable level of pollution.
Without this we will be seeing absolute mayhem in 30 years' time - mayhem that no market will be able to regulate against.
Chris W Petts, Aberystwyth, Wales
While Mark Stuart is right on many things, his western trained mind can only think through Western prism. he has failed to highlight Two important issues for India and China:
1. Not to follow western developmental Model especially, the mega-cities with-out efficient mass public transport systems.
2. Low educational levels among the citizens of developing world, mean little awareness about health and pollution, so judicial activism is called for (Delhi being the prime example - where CNG was forced by India's Supreme Court) and not to rely upon Government, who oppose Kyoto type agreements.
Sid, Sydney, Australia
I absolutely agree with this approach. we must force the market to respond here and push manufacturers into producing better engines. The UK government ought to take a stand here and ban the sale of cars that do not meet such a regulation, as Europe will be too worried on the impact of the german and french auto business - actually the german auto industry is one of the best in the world for producing high quality green engines - often better then Japanese ones. Anyway this is a great proposal and one that needs to be taken seriously !
Chris Findlay, Lahore Pakistan
"Nobody needs a car that does 10-15mpg"
Actually, I do. Not that it's actually a car, it's a 22' RV that I live and work in with my partner. If someone came up with one that got more then great but at more than 2 tons, that's quite a job.
We move the site of the business as required and, other than trips to refill the propane and empty the tanks, that's about it. The major savings are the 12V solar powered batteries and 160 square foot living area so unless housing efficiency is also taken into account then I feel slighted.
Mike Birch, USA (ex-UK)
Yes! I agree with the contents and observation. Selt compliance world over would not come, unless there is some form of tax, even if it is built into say fuel, people should know and told abt it, govts or corporates should account seperately for the cause, if it being levied and collected
While I agree with Mr. Moody-Stuart that markets can deliver growth while cutting emissions, I think tight regulation of the markets is necessary to steering the changes in the desired direction. However, economic growth implies more consumption, which requires radically reducing emissions per unit in order to reduce overall emissions, the necessary goal. I see no proposals for actually reducing overall emissions, only per-unit reductions. As long as growth continues this approach will be insufficient.
Robert Oldham, Doswell, Virginia USA
I find it amusing when otherwise intelligent people repeat this fantasy that "the market represents the will of the people". As soon as any huge corporation it begins its PR campaign for the express purpose of manipulating public perception and therefore opinion. The classic example of this is GE owning NBC, and dictating what would be shown regarding the presidential elections. Many americans believe that we have more forest, and more clean water than we've ever had in the history of man. When you influence the market, to "choose" what they want, you begin the downward spiral. The US successfully started, and continues a war using false information. Money buys influence. Duh! We have a sitting president with family investments in weapons, and he starts a war? Duh! We HAVE to DICTATE what we need from industry, not the other way around.
Nick Wimett, La Madera New Mexico USA
Making transport more efficient starts with making cities much, much more dense, walkable and attractive, as well as reducing the need and desire to leave the city. The second step is creating transportation vehicles and infrastructure which provide the access not possible with walking alone, and this means more cycling, plus improving efficiency of the already super-efficient public transportation.
Sir Mark mentions nothing about these things. Personal cars, in Sir Mark's vision, could still be the "roomiest" and "vroomiest car" as long as they meet an efficiency standard (which he says elsewhere would be 35 mpg). Even if every car is individually cleaner, his vision just means more cars, many used by one person at a time, as now: A waste of energy, time and space.
Todd Edelman, Prague, Czech Republic
I have no doubt that framework regulation of this sort will work where climate change issues are confined to the market. However, in parts of the developing world simple law making and enforcement would solve many emission issues that cannot be regulated by the market.
Last week, I watched in despair as local farmers started burning the forest opposite my house. In one evening I counted 7 separate fires. And why do they do it? To grow mushrooms and make hunting easier. Both activities have little subsistence value. They're done for fun.
Where we can help is by putting pressure on foreign governments to prevent these crimes. How about live data from satellites of all forest fires around the globe. Naming and shaming can be a powerful tool.Particularly in Asia.
Richard Rhodes, Chiang Mai, Thailand