One Day They'll All Want A Car...
...at least that's what I think it said...
Underneath a typical photo of a scene in China where hundreds of people were on bicycles, the caption read;
"One day they'll all want cars"
Or something like that.
In the years since that was said, the prophecy came true. China industrialised on a massive scale and people wanted cars.
And yesterday's Guardian newspaper reported that China has now overtaken the USA as the world's biggest consumer of automobiles.
That means there are no more than 1 billion cars in the world, roughly one for every 6-7 people alive.
The worrying thing is the other statistics in the Guardian story, take this for instance:
According to a report by the trade journal Ward's, 35m new cars and lorries were sold worldwide last year – the second-biggest increase ever recorded. That is 95,500 extra vehicles being added to the global traffic jam every day.
Nearly 100,000 new cars sold every day, worldwide - that's not going to save the planet.
For the car manufacturers this is good news - they believe there is plenty of room for greater consumption of their products. More consumers equals more sales equals more turnover equals more profit.
For the environment this is clearly worrying. In just ten years between 2000 and 2010 the number of cars and motorbikes on Chinese roads increased by a factor of twenty. In the next two decades that number will double again.
The motor manufacturers would love to shift another 900 million units, but is there enough resource to do so? With the price of scrap metal, nearly a billion more cars is not sustainable is it? Let alone the amount of polution to be pumped into the atmosphere.
For the full story read China's love affair with the car shuns green vehicles