US U-turn on Vehicle Emissions

President Obama is not hanging about is he? Yesterday he announced America's intent to provide global leadership on climate change (Gordon Brown, are you listening?) and to allow states to set their own vehicle emissions targets for vehicles.

On the BBC TV news last night, forward-thinking California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was openly delighted by the policy shift. I can imagine why; everytime I see pictures of Los Angeles there's a big smog cloud over it, probably from what seem like millions of vehicles pouring into and out of the "City of Angels".

It was President Bush who bore complete indifference to the "quality" of America's air; the ex oilman who brazenly displayed the badge of "World's Biggest Polluter" allowed America's love affair with the testosterone-fuelled big SUVs to grow without limits and look where that got them. High oil prices killed the SUV, for a little while at least, but it did force the "big 3" car makers to completely reassess their policy on leaner, greener cars - something they should have done years before.

So now, with America's cars spewing out 25% of the country's carbon emissions, individual states can start pruning back on the consumption of oil, so maybe there'll be some left for the rest of the world. Hi MPGs will be rewarded and Toxic Texans will have to drive Smart Cars by law [Sorry, that's untrue but I couldn't resist it - Ed]

The most important thing is that Obama has signalled a clear intent to keep his promises and to forge ahead with America's green policies. Amen to that.