Over the last few years, after being fired by the BBC Jeremy Clarkson and the original hosts of Top Gear have been making their new show, the Grand Tour.
While the format is different, the Grand Tour is essentially the same show show with a far bigger budget and and in line increases in the dramatic scenes that it can create.
Why is it newsworthy that Jeremy Clarkson is now saying that global warming is real, given that the majority of the rest of the scientific world reach this conclusion several decades ago? I would argue because he has been one of the most vocal people against the move towards electric cars and the need to reduce pollution. Also in his car shows he has generally reviewed big gas guzzling cars far more positively than efficient ones.
Then there is the argument that Jeremy Clarkson on behalf of Top Gear had with Elon Musk and Tesla. When the first Tesla car was released the Tesla Roadster, Top Gear reviewed it. Unfortunately all the evidence suggests that this was not a fair review. It was taken out on the track but it was claimed that it ran out of battery having covered ,less than half of the range that the Tesla car was supposed to be able to drive.
Now certainly an electric sports car not being able to survive being driven around a track a number of times fitted into the Top Gear narrative of the time, furthermore when disputing their claims Elon Musk mention several issues:
Firstly apparently the person who dropped off the car saw a script lying on a table, and in the script it specifically stated that the car ran out of battery. I don’t believe this was actually factually disputed, though it seems completely peculiar as it destroys any suggestion that Top Gear is a reviewing program and simply makes it into drama.
The second issue that was raised, appears even more stupid than leaving a script lying around. All Tesla cars have a powerful computer that runs them and make sure everything is working, but this also gives a log of performance and what is going on with the car, and this log clearly stated that there was almost 50% of the battery still remaining at the time that he said it had 0 battery left.
He does seem to have gone back on this dislike of Tesla during his new show, including several tesla’s including a Tesla Model x in in the lineup of the grand tour.
Apparently his new epiphany (that climate change is real) came about while on one of the trips for the Grand Tour. Filming in Cambodia he was trying to navigate the Mekong river from Siem Reap to Vietnam, but he found this impossible in places due to the river having dried up. He States he found this highly alarming and it was the first time they had encountered evidence so clear.
I personally would dispute this, he has been travelling the world for his car series for decades and there have been many scenes in many episodes that have clearly demonstrated an issue with changing climate. However whatever happened on this occasion it was clearly so obvious as be undisputable.
My question now is will this have any impact whatsoever. Only 2 months ago he called the climate activist Greta thunberg a spoilt brat, a bit rich coming from someone who lives a life that most of the world could only dream of and who has had a carbon footprint of perhaps 1000 normal people. I would like to see him doing something about it.
While the super fast cars are fun, there are several things of note. Electric cars are so rapidly catching up that it is likely that they will be able to overtake combustion engine cars in many of the areas that they still out compete in the near future. He inevitably in his shows takes on all sorts of challenges, it would be good to see more of these aim towards reducing the carbon footprint of whatever it is.
I think it is an opinion that combustion engine cars still dominate in all categories, however whether it is or isn’t is irrelevant. The majority of travel is going to have to go go fossil fuel free in the near future if we are to have a hope of continuing to be able to live comfortably on Earth. This would be helped greatly if Car People who run TV shows well less bias towards combustion engines and we’re willing to talk about the negatives as well as the positives. This way as companies like Tesla lead the way another car company start to Electrify the range, there would be more petrol heads cheering on on the advances in electric cars rather than trying to put it down all the time.
It should be noted that James May and Richard Hammond while not contradicting Jeremy Clarkson’s views on Top Gear, have another project been a standing you positive about all sorts of electric cars.
It is something that they would have to be careful to not destroy the brand but I would hope that with this realisation, he would feel the need to undo some of the damage that is done in the the past few decades