Monday, August 4, 2008

Olympic Pollution

If you haven’t heard about the pollution in Beijing by now, you must have just come from a cave. The high levels of pollution in China are beginning to cause concern about the health, welfare and performance of the Olympic athletes. I haven’t heard this much concern about breathing since the Mexico City Olympics. It’s a lucky thing for China that they are still a totalitarian society because the leaders are able to institute draconian measures to cut air pollution. They have cut the numbers of cars allowed on the street in half and shut down industry in an attempt to clear the air. In short, they are willing to cripple their economy and cause untold disruption to business in order to present a pretty façade to the world.

The pollution in China should strike home the point that soccer moms driving hybrid cars and T. Boone Pickens building windmills in Texas is not the solution to the world greenhouse gas problem (if you believe there is such a thing). About ¾ of the worlds population lives in China and India. And as you can see from the recent boom in automobile buying in China, they have money and they all want modern conveniences. Now, this is not a bad thing. The bad thing is that they are following in the tracks of the same old hydrocarbon paradigm that the west did.

The hybrid automakers should be selling their cars in China and India. They should be building houses with roofs made of solar cell. They should be erecting windmill farms as fast as they can. If the population of those countries were directed toward hybrids and alternative energy, their purchasing power would fuel demand for those products. With a high demand, the price will drop. It will also help the balance of payments.

So the next time some Green Party hack chastises you for driving an SUV, ask him why he isn’t proselytizing in Beijing or Bombay.

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