Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Mr Jolissaint, a Chrysler veteran who was recently appointed the chief economist for the German-US DaimlerChrysler Group, said that since he started spending more time at the company's corporate headquarters in Stuttgart he had been shocked by the absurdity of European attitudes towards global warming.
In response to a question from the floor, he said that global warming was a far-off risk whose magnitude was uncertain.
He said that from an economic point of view, it would be more rational to spend lots of money on today's other big problems, and only make small and limited changes in policies relating to global warming, such as a slight increase in gasoline or carbon taxes.
Mr Jolissaint was particularly scathing about the Stern Report, which was recently published by the UK government.
The report urged governments to take urgent action now to tackle climate change, arguing that it would be much cheaper to act, rather than face the $10 trillion cost of not doing anything until later.
Mr Jolissaint said the report was based on dubious economics, did not include a discount rate, and was written by an informal adviser to Gordon Brown - in fact, at the time of the report, Mr Stern was the Second Permanent Secretary at the UK Treasury.
He said that he had been surprised by how much support there had been in the Daimler office in Stuttgart for these "quasi-hysterical" policies that smacked of "Chicken Little" politics - referring to the US children's story in which Chicken Little runs around in circles saying "the sky is falling".
If nothing else, Mr Jolissaint's remarks illustrate the yawning gap between mainstream opinion on climate change among the educated elites of Europe and America.
But they are also consistent with the cynical view held by some in the US environmental lobby that announcements by car companies about the future development of green vehicles are nothing more than window dressing.
Sometimes it's hard to know what to say. Thank goodness we're inundated, constantly, by ads (most of which make no sense) put out by folks such as these. It really warms the heart, yeah?
Read the entire earticle here.