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An interesting and stormy thread is brewing over my post on the forthcoming $2,500 car from Tata Motors. A number of Indians point out that the US has done very little to raise auto mileage, curb carbon emissions, or fight global warming in general. Point very well taken and a point that I agree with totally. The US didn’t sign the Kyoto Accords and Detroit has been incredibly far behind in raising mileage standards (and as a result has lost enormous market share to Japanese car makers, such as Toyota which produces the hybrid Prius). The US appears to have woken up to global warming finally but much work needs to be done.
The failures of the US and the West, however, should not lead India or China to simply repeat its errors in economic development. India can do better. Innovations in transportation today can not only help Tata and other Indian companies gain global competitive edge, they can help India modernize without the pollution that is sure to hurt its people and the planet.
This is a moment in history where disruptive innovations in transportation and power will give huge advantage to those who succeed in making them. It’s a golden economic opportunity, not a burden.
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