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Schwarzenegger showcases 'green' cars at Los Angeles show

by Staff Writers
Los Angeles (AFP) Nov 15, 2007
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday took to the stage at the Los Angeles Auto Show to tout his environmentally friendly politics and praise car manufacturers increasingly turning to "green" technology.

"I hadn't seen that much technology since I did my Terminator movies," said the affable, former action-film star who has a passion for cars and is often seen behind the wheel of his gas-guzzling Hummer, drawing fire from environmentalists.

Since becoming governor in 2003, however, Schwarzenegger has invested heavily in environmental programs, including ambitious legislation passed last year to slash California's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020 -- the first US state to do so.

To set an example, Schwarzenegger converted his Hummer to run on hydrogen and his administration on November 8 filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the federal government to force it to approve California's tough new restrictions on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

But this political will belies the reality of a California with 30 million registered vehicles and a poorly developed public transport system that makes car ownership a necessity for too many.

Faced with rising gasoline prices and global warming concerns, car and car parts makers, as well as politicians who fear being branded interventionists, prefer backing new technologies that will let Americans keep their car-centric way of life.

"It is fantastic to see that the world's automakers are developing the technology to help us meet our goals in California," said Schwarzenegger before presenting six vehicles posing different environmental solutions.

"These cars come in every size and shape and they prove that we can give consumers the choices they want and still protect the environment," he said. "This is exactly the kind of innovation we need."

The cars included an Audi sedan that runs on biofuel, a cheap diesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta, and the electric prototype Chevrolet Volt, which represents a complete about-face for General Motors in seeking non-polluting technologies.

Two hybrids were also highlighted by Schwarzenegger: the 4x4 Dodge Durango for Americans who want an eight-passenger vehicle capable of pulling massive loads and still save gas in the city, and a new, rechargeable Toyota Prius.

The Japanese carmaker recently loaned two rechargeable Prius to California universities to have them assessed in real driving conditions and put its 100 kilometers-per-liter (250 miles per gallon) boast to the test.

Finally, Schwarzenegger brought out Honda's new "FCX Clarity," a family car that runs on hydrogen battery power and only emits water vapor that will become available in limited locations in southern California next year.

Schwarzenegger's press conference was held shortly after the 2007 "Green Car of the Year" award was announced for Durango's cousin, the Chevrolet Tahoe with its hybrid engine that consumes a modest 100 kilometers per 10 liters (40 miles per gallon).

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Go With The Flow
Dresden, Germany (SPX) Nov 16, 2007
Traffic flows account for as much as one-third of global energy consumption. But unconventional changes in managing traffic flow could significantly reduce such waste and lower harmful CO2 emissions, says Dirk Helbing. Dr. Helbing, Professor of Sociology at the ETH Zurich Chair of Sociology, a specialist in modelling and simulation, supports his claim with a recent study called 'Efficient Self-Control of Traffic Flows in Urban Networks Using Short-Sighted Anticipation'.

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