• Jul 12th 2007 at 8:04AM
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Are Ferraris and Porsches condemned to becoming track-day-only toys? Europe already appears well on its way to outlawing ultra-high performance vehicles. Can the US be far behind? That's the question Bloomberg is asking. The culprit in the attack on sports cars isn't necessarily their speed, but the fact that they produce too much carbon dioxide. But they do get criticized for their speed as well. One British member of the European Parliament, Chris Davies, is actually proposing a prohibition on any car with a top speed over 162 km/h (101 mph). That wouldn't leave much choice for buyers unless everybody started fitting governors.

The CO2 problem is the big one though. The European Union is planning to limit CO2 emissions in lieu of fuel-mileage standards. Carbon dioxide is considered one of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. While limiting CO2 emissions might be a laudable goal, the finger too often gets pointed at cars. Car & Driver's Csaba Csere is quoted in the article, talking about the fact that power plants and factories are where politicians should be focusing their efforts. "Automobiles always seem to be the focus, even though they only consume 15 percent or 20 percent of energy,'' he said.

While much of the article dwells on the anti-rich attitude that permeates these types of attacks, the writer brings up some interesting points. Some stuff seems purely intended to provoke reactions, and much of it feels like opinion over fact, but that's editorial content for you. Click over to read the whole thing.

Thanks for the tip, JayP!

[Source: Bloomberg]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Mr. rvr,

      I respectfully disagree with your argument:

      rvr said "is the evidence perfect? no. is it a sure bet? no. but it is a bet. and we are going to roll the dice one way or another. for the sake of the human race i'd rather bet that climate change is real and do something now." (grammatically incorrect non-capitalization his)

      Your central thesis is essentially a modern restatement of Pascal's Wager, where he said humans are safer to "bet" on the existence of God (or that Jesus was born of a Virgin), and succumb to the dogma of the surrounding religion, lest they face Eternal Damnation for their sins. According to Pascal, better to live with truncated freedoms now than risk Hell. Curious how the consequences of sins against Environmentalism also places us sinners in a hot place.

      Your second paragraph is falls under the half-truth category. Even according to the Left leaning IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), compared to natural CO2 production, human production is in the 2-3% range. Nature produces 30 times the CO2 of human activity.

      A study in Carbon Cycles shows that the Earth has undergone (and adjusted to) increases and decreases in CO2 over millions of years, much bigger than anything mankind has the capability to achieve, even on purpose!. Think hard about this central thesis: Energy cannot be created nor destroyed.

      Your third paragraph is a logical train wreck. While in the first paragraph you say we should hedge a bet, in your third paragraph, you speak as if human induced climate change is a certainty. "(T)his is a global problem" and "(T)his is a global system being thrown out of balance" constitute affirmative statements that are as of yet unproven.

      The argument put forth in support of centralized government planning disregards the government's role in creating the "problem" at hand (who built the roads for all of those cars? Would a free market have addressed the marketplaces need to move people and goods in another way?). Furthermore, it is the very human activity (human thought leading to useful products and big corporations) that central government planning (or other forms of tyranny) has been proven to stifle (see Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, Iraq, Iran, China, France, Germany, Spain, Canada, India, all of Africa, ah hell, every country that isn't the U.S. in it's purest iteration, for proof). It will be big corporations, the collection of human brilliance assembled for profit, the same ones that give us longer lifespans and higher standards of living that will save us, should we need saving.

      Lesson: A government's job in a Constitutional Republic (such as is the U.S.) is to protect the natural rights of every individual citizen equally, not to pick and choose one person or group to oppress to the perceived benefit of another person or group. The majority has no right to oppress the minority (called Democracy). Slavery is the end result of that logical misstep.

      While the logic employed here may be "old" as you say, and quaint by the self-appointed intellectual elitists otherwise known as socialists and advocates of any form of theocracy, the age of a logical statement has no affect on its validity. 2 + 2 was 4 in 1800, 2 + 2 is 4 today, and it 2 + 2 will be 4 long after we're all dead, contributing to CO2 production as decaying corpses (perhaps a posthumous tax, levied per pound of flesh, is in order? It's consistent with any other Estate Tax).

      Let us proceed under the Rule of Law, and not further embark on this Salem Witch Hunt to quell our superstitious fears.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Please prove to me via an OBJECTIVE court of law that my neighbor driving a Ferrari infringes upon my inalienable rights to life or liberty or private property and I may consider asking him to buy a greener car (It is interesting to consider the notion that if CO2 is poison, that a Prius spewing less poison is somehow ok, or that the Tour de France isn't the topic of CO2 restriction). Governments, with a monopoly on the LEGAL ability to initiate force, should seek to restrict inalienable human rights via regulation only when the actions of one citizen DEMONSTRABLY (via a court of objective law) infringe upon the inalienable rights of another citizen. Anything, by any other standard, is tyranny. In this case, the EU (to be followed by CARB and other Nanny State advocates) is having a self righteous, anti-capitalist, socialist wealth distribution driven Gorgasm over what is at best controversial science.
      Gorism, the new Environmentalist Religion, is like any other religion, full of stories, parables, and half-truths that any reasoned individual MUST question. Doing so, though, is heretical to those committed to the dogma. Of note, let us not forget that Al Gore went to divinity school.
      While the "Environmentalists" march in the street amidst bad music and a Purple Haze (having used all of the technological fruits of freedom and capitalism to arrive to organize their event), "Blame the Rich" is the new "Blame the Jews" in Europe (which is why France is losing a millionaire a day).
      Meanwhile, having paved the road to Hell with stones of (misguided) good intent, the Hollywierd Stars and Self-Anointed Kings and Queens that are now our leaders will jump into their limos and CO2 spewing private jets, toasting their "enlightenment" (precisely the opposite of Classical Enlightenment -read John Locke). I doubt Al Gore uses "One Square" to wipe his substantial backside.

      I, for one, say "The Emperor Has No Clothes!" I say, BEFORE we restrict the minds of man (free will), we consider ALL of the empirical evidence, sans politics. I say, as a man of modest means, that it is no crime to be rich. I say that PROOF OF DAMAGES are required as a standard, not merely "violation of dogma."

      The history of the human civilization is wrought with one form of tyrannous government or another. The difference here is that the onset of tyranny is slow and steady (egregiously called Environmentalism), and not the result of a war (sometimes egregiously called Stalinization). Wake up oh freedom loving world! All tyranny needs to take hold is men and women of good conscience to remain silent...
      • 8 Years Ago
      I could care less if CO2 limits kill Porsche. Porsche, is and never will be remotley at par with Ferrari. Ferrari is the world's most prestegious and recognized name brand in cars. The entry level model runs for about $150,000. It is truly an exotic car company, with only the few elite which can buy. Porsche is expanded to "soccer mom's" by bringing an SUV, and letting a 20 yr old buy a boxster for $60K. The name is demoted because of its affordability to anyone.
        • 8 Years Ago
        But the cars they make a pretty close to perfection and for that a little brand dilusion can be forgiven. The exception is the Cayenne which is a pig, but so long as the money they make on that goes to makeing more sports cars, I'm all for it.

        As for the CO2 stuff, it'll be interesting to see how Porsche Ferrari et al. get around it/adapte.
      • 8 Years Ago
      These jokers need to read a bit of Amory Lovins' work and start addressing REAL CO2 emitters, rather than lining up and knocking down the little ones for cheap political gain.
      • 8 Years Ago
      @david damn: exhaust apparently contains CO and CO2 (http://www.nutramed.com/environment/carsepa.htm)

      as for such laws limiting these performance cars, i have to say it's hard to get too indignant about it being difficult for the ultra-rich to buy a super car. 99.9% of the population of the earth isn't going to care.

      and the point is not to get these cars off the road. it seems the point is to get cars in general to pollute less. the high end sports car may be a casualty of that effort. but frankly it's like complaining that child labor laws in africa are going to make diamonds too expensive. um, excuse me, but forest and trees and all that.

      ultimately, i think people will still want to spend excessive amounts of money to go really fast. luxury/performance companies will have to innovate to produce powerful cars that are much greener, and with all the money to be made, i have no doubt they will.

      i know there are a lot of gearheads that love the internal combustion engine and its mystique and aura, and i'm sure it will survive in one form or another, but the sooner it dies as our primary means of transport, the better (particularly the gasoline variety--bring on the clean diesel!).

      as for this type of regulation being aimed at the wrong thing, where the author said this, "they only consume 15 percent or 20 percent of energy." hello?! only 15 to 20 percent? being able to limit what is in effect one source that makes up 15 to 20 percent is HUGE. i doubt there are any other sources that make up that much of total CO2 output. sure, you can say factories and power plants, but that's actually a lot more complex, from the little i know. plus, i'm sure there's the political calculus in terms of which industry is going to be least able to fight such legislation. but minimizing it as only 15 or 20 percent is crazy talk.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ok when I read articles like this it just fires me up! Porsche and Ferrari do not sell nearly enough cars to think their CO2 emmissions will screw up the environment. But why doesn't Europe, the US, etc look into these plants that cause HUGE pollution and CO2 outputs! I mean these factory dump TONS of crap into the air and into the water supplies daily, yet the continue... hypocrisy at its finest!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Further nullifying this vapid political hot button is the fact that water vapor is the key contributor to the greenhouse effect, not CO2 (water vapor is said to be 95% of the cause). Hence our contribution to C02 production is even more inconsequential than Al Gore's campaign propaganda film leads you to believe.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Well, I suppose we all have our own ideas on how much oil is left, and how much of it we dare consume individually.

        Cars are expensive and last a long time, so I at least, if I ever buy another, will choose one that is very, very, very economical.

        Liberty, and miniscule future proofing.

        All flesh is grasse.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Though I will proabably never be able to afford one of the uber-performance cars. Going after them is saying lets solve the worlds carbon problems by attacking .0000000001% of the emitters. Maybe in your world but I do not see many of these garage queens running around on a daily basis.
        • 8 Years Ago
        I couldn't agree more.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wouldn't be the first time a politician or two attempted to put their name up in lights by going after this target. And it won't be the first time they fail.

      It also tends to shed light on the fact that the political types seem to have an acute inability to understand science or engineering. No big surprise there. CO2 limited doesn't need to mean slow. It just means it is time to loose a considerable amount of weight. If you want to go fast you will have to give up your 15 cup holders, autopilot steering system, quadruple zone climate control, refrigerated gloveboxes and a laundry list of other rather foolish gadgets.

      Think Lotus Elise or early 70s 911. Light, simple and fast.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Does anybody know what car that is behind and right of the Ferrari? It looks like it may be a Callaway Corvette.
        • 8 Years Ago
        It is, in fact, the Callaway C16. Reeves brings it to our weekly car meet at Ford's Premier Automotive Group HQ in Irvine, CA. Last week he even brought the convertible.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Unlikely. Remember, Ferrari and Porsche have some of the strongest R&D in the industry. Historically, I think they've done better with tightening safety and emissions standards than almost anyone else. Adding catalytic converters did far less to hamper their performance than it did to the Americans, right? And the Porsche 924 and 944 were designed to take a 50mph head on collision back when it looked like the government was going to require THAT standard (IIRC, the Fiat X19 was the only other car that could do that). IMO the small car companies are way more nimble than GM or Ford.

      Frankly, I'd expect Porsche to roll out some seriously awesome new technology in response to this. Charging $100K for a car means they can afford to put in technology that'd otherwise be cost prohibitive.

      The market for extremely fast cars is very strong, and it's not going away. Car makers will _always_ find a way to give us what we want, regardless of how green they're forced to get.

      Have faith in the market.
        • 8 Years Ago
        I fully agree with this point. I have a feeling some legislators are completely misinformed when it comes to fast cars and emissions. They're less than likely to actually read exotic car brochures (where emissions info may be - i.e. Porsche Cayman's) by their negative nature - which usually gets them nowhere.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Can't they do like Al Gore does and buy "carbon offsets" so they can pollute to their heart's content and still claim a false moral high-ground? Hell, if it's good enough for fat Al, it should be also be good enough for someone with a brain.
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