Friday, January 18, 2008

An Unwise Choice?

A $2,500 car (seats 4, goes 60mph, is cute) has just been released by Indian car manufacturer Tata. The Nano, about the size of its iPod namesake, makes car ownership a real possibility for lots of just-shy-of-poor folks in the developing world. Of course, as Anne Applebaum points out in Slate, lots more cars means lots more emissions:

There must be a way to reconcile mass car ownership with global warming, but, at the moment, we haven't found it. There is no profound reason why good environmental policies have to come into conflict with economic growth, but, at the moment, they often do. In many countries, the desire not to be poor is, at the moment, stronger than the desire to breathe clean air.

It's tempting to count on human ingenuity: if it gets us into an even bigger mess, eventually, in the name of self-preservation, it'll get us out of it. Won't it?

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