BMW Z4 with 2012 London Olympics hopefuls

The problem when a bunch of bigwigs want to do something good for the environment is that they won't stop being bigwigs in order to do it. Getting a lot of VIPs together means a lot of private jets and limousines, and next thing you know, you've got a situation like the 2009 climate change conference in Copenhagen, when it only took a few days for 15,000 delegates to create as much filth as the town of Middlesbrough's 142,500 inhabitants.

According to the UK's Daily Mail, the 2012 London Olympics may be headed down the same carbon trail, with sponsor BMW planning to ship 4,000 cars to The City for use by dignitaries. Games organizers had promised that this would be the cleanest Olympics ever, and London mayor Boris Johnson said in 2009 that he wanted London to be the cleanest city in the world by the time the games arrived. Even though 200 of the BMWs are electric and all fall below the 120g/km emissions limit, the promise could still be difficult to fulfill with 3,800 more limos on top of the extra rides already called into service, especially once you factor in shipping them from Germany.

Some perspective, though: the addition of four thousand BMWs is being compared to London's aim for clean games; the extra metal really isn't that many cars considering we're talking about an event of this size. Only 250 vehicles will be allotted exclusively, the rest will be in shared service, and many will simply be displacing cars that otherwise would have been called into regular service. And, on the bright side: their use of BMWs will leave more room on buses and trains for the rest of you...