EDITORS: car emissions are moving overseas

General Motors, the largest automobile company in the world (though Toyota is neck in neck for the title), made big business news today that has big environmental implications. GM announced that within the decade some 75 percent of its sales will be overseas – a 17 percent increase over 2007.

Of course this has implications for US autoworkers, but it also carries climate change repercussions worth noting as we continue discussing a replacement treaty to Kyoto Protocol.

In December, the President signed into law the new energy bill, which includes a long-fought for increase in gas mileage performance.  Specifically, the new bill requires that a fleet’s average reach 35 miles per gallon. But the law won’t apply to the increasing number of cars being sold in other parts of the world by GM or any other company.

Reports estimate that China will sell 10 million new cars in 2008, a 15 to 20 percent increase over last year.  China is now the world’s second largest car market after the US.  India, which is hosting a massive auto expo next week in New Delhi, expects to jump to the world’s 7th largest market by 2016.  Neither country has fuel efficiency requirements. The point being, it doesn’t matter if the CO2 is emitted here or elsewhere. It all goes into the same stratosphere.  

Which isn’t to pooh-pooh the accomplishments of the new energy bill, but it does highlight why a global solution to global warming is so imperative. Industry will always seek out less regulated markets where the overhead is lower. 

Now, off to find an auto blogger in New Delhi.


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