Cash For Clunkers Backfires in Germany
Back in February, White House environmental advisor Van Jones discussed a “Cash for Clunkers” program on BigThink as an effective tool for promoting clean energy. The plan, which provides drivers with rebate checks when they upgrade to more fuel-efficient cars, came into fruition earlier this summer and received additional Senate funding last week.
It’s a seemingly foolproof greening scheme that Western European nations had been employing for several months, successfully boosting auto sales and easing recession pain. But the trade-in program is actually doing more harm than good in Germany.
The Cash for Clunkers program caused auto sales in Germany to shoot up 40 percent in March. What proponents of the program didn’t realize, however, is that a portion of the “clunkers” – extremely fuel-inefficient vehicles – have been stolen or bought from scrap yards and resold in Eastern European and African countries; some have even made their way back to Germany.
In effect, the German government has been funding the increase of pollution in poorer nations.
The simple solution to such a problem -- the solution adopted by the US and other nations -- is to safeguard against the reselling of clunkers by forcing dealers to destroy their engines.
So why didn’t Germany do the same? Destroying an old car’s engine, a complicated process, creates its own economically destructive ripple effect: The recycling companies who buy and process the dead clunkers must go to greater lengths to make use of the car’s remaining parts, all of which are less valuable than its engine. Destroying the cars' engines makes it even more difficult for scrapyards, who are already experiencing tough times, to earn a profit.
The car-wrecking services get the short end of the stick and are crossing their fingers to see the end of the program. Environmental conscience aside, it’s almost easy to see why pawning off the clunkers for resale is a more appealing option than completing the scrapping process for struggling German scrapyard owners.
Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!
As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.
"Earth" features about 30 of the biggest names in entertainment.
- Lil Dicky is a rapper and comedian who released his debut album in 2015.
- His new music video, "Earth," features artists such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheehan, Kevin Hart, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
- All proceeds of the music video will go to environmental causes, Dicky said.
We're talking Ghost in the Shell type of stuff.
Maybe you watched Ghost in the Shell and maybe afterwards you and your friend had a conversation about whether or not you would opt in for some bionic upgrades if that was possible - like a liver that could let you drink unlimitedly or an eye that could give you superhuman vision. And maybe you had differing opinions but you concluded that it's irrelevant because the time to make such choices is far in the future. Well, it turns out, it's two years away.
- A forensic artist in Scotland has made a hyper realistic model of an ancient dog.
- It was based on the skull of a dog dug up in Orkney, Scotland, which lived and died 4,000 years ago.
- The model gives us a glimpse of some of the first dogs humans befriended.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.