Monday 14 April 2008

China's obsession with cars

In another example of the West attempting to prevent China and India enjoying the trappings of capitalism and growth, China and India and urged to avoid copying the West's obsession with fast and/or large cars.

As with global warming in general the sentiment is correct - if China and India copy our excessive reliance on the motor vehicle then the planet with hasten its own demise.

The interviewee in this article is right to point the finger at the West's media to blame for fueling the dreams and aspirations of the average Indian or Chinese citizen.

China, India Urged To Avoid Obsession With Cars [PlanetArk]

BOAO - China and other big developing countries such as India need to take steps to avoid being over-reliant on private cars, the head of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning UN climate panel said.

Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told Reuters that investing in improving railways and urban public transportation was one way countries such as China could balance the need for fighting climate change with that for economic growth.

"This excessive and growing reliance on private vehicular transport is certainly something that doesn't suit large, populous countries like China and India," Pachauri said.

"So we have to find a different model for that -- much more efficient and better railway systems, much better local transport in terms of use of public transport options," he told Reuters on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia held in the southern Chinese island province of Hainan.

China is already the world's second-largest vehicle market, despite only a small fraction of urban residents owning a car.

With incomes rising, car sales are growing by more than a fifth each year, contributing further to serious air pollution in cities, as well as to emissions. China is set to surpass the United States as the world's top emitter of carbon dioxide.

For its part, India will this year see the world's cheapest car, the Nano, hit its roads, bringing car ownership closer to within reach for millions of poorer consumers.


Pachauri acknowledged that investment in better public transport alone would not be enough to curb growth in private car ownership. Lifestyle changes stemming from better awareness of environmental issues would be important as well, he said.

That, in turn, places responsibility on Western countries.

"You won't get lifestyle changes in the developing world unless the developed world also makes some efforts to bring about those changes," he said.

"I mean, everybody over here watches television and they see all the good things in life in the developed world and naturally they're not prepared to give up that distant vision or dream."



Anonymous said...

Just because this is what the west advises, China must do the opposite. China should subsidize all purchase of vehicles for personal use, proportional to the fuel consumption of the vehicle. The more fuel means higher expenses, and therefore justifies the higher subsidy. Let us make all Chinese multi-car owners, with front attached multi-garaged homes. That's the way to show our defiance and power.

Anonymous said...

oh, power play - now with cars. interesting.