Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Will Tata Motors Lead India's Ta-Ta to Fixing Climate Change?

The New York Times reports that Tata Motors of India will unveil a super-cheap car 1/10 that will allow Third World drivers who have had to get around on two wheels to afford four--but that it will likely fail emission standards on any Western road.

The statement is buried in a cryptic single sentence. The main focus of the article is what Tata's technicians were able to achieve with so-called Gandhian engineering, asking "Do we really need that" about every component of the vehicle. Unfortunately, Tata appears to have decided that one of the things the developing world can live without for now is any contribution to repairing global warming by limiting vehicle pollution.

This is the kind of disaster many climate change experts have been warning about for years. It is one of the scenarios they have predicted would make global warming exponentially worse. Their fear has been that, lacking any responsible leadership from the U.S., India and China would imitate the most climate-polluting aspects of American industrial development--and do so at a pace and scale that will rapidly surpass the volume of greenhouse gases Americans pump into the atmosphere.

It looks like we're about 48 hours away from Tata announcing that it will take the lead in helping India turn this climate-change nightmare into a grim reality.

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