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4x4s could get tobacco-style warnings

2004-11-26 08:57

Just like smokers buy tobacco marked with "Smoking Kills" and other dire warnings, the New Economics Foundation (NEF) offered its own slogans for super-stickers which they said should be slapped onto the bonnets and sides of cars.

"Global warming kills," "Climate change can seriously damage your health" or even "Driving seriously harms you and others around you" were among the list of warnings proposed by the London-based think tank.

The NEF said SUVs, also called 4x4s or four-wheel-drives, were "disproportionately responsible for emissions of climate-change fuelling CO2 (carbon dioxide), other air pollutants, and traffic fatalities".

But, it warned in a statement, their sales were increasing and now represented one out of every four new cars sold in the United States and one in seven in Britain.

"SUVs are dangerous, fabulously polluting and part of a wider transport problem that is, according to the World Health Organisation, set to be the world's third most common cause of death and disability by 2020," NEF policy director Andrew Simms said.

"We need labelling to encourage people not to drive these four-wheel behemoths in the same way we encourage people not to smoke. If we can't we may need to find a very large ashtray for our planet's future."

The group said that as with smoking, regulations to cut down greenhouse gas emissions did not work and that as with smokers, drivers could be shamed into behavior change through "emotive content".

Its campaign, due to be covered in the New Statesman magazine on Friday, comes ahead of an upcoming international conference on climate change in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


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