Here at Independent Motoring, we are going carbon neutral. My colleague David Wilkins thought of the idea, and so we've totted up roughly how many miles we'll drive testing cars this year, and will be sending an appropriate cheque to www.climatecare.co.uk. That will then be spent on renewable energy, energy efficiency schemes and a reforestation project in Uganda. That should offset our carbon emissions.

I know what some of you are thinking. This is a gimmick. Driving is evil and nothing can make up for the damage to the planet. To which we would say the following:

First, doing something is better than doing nothing. Even if a carbon-neutral policy isn't the entire solution to global warming, it might help. Second, we don't make cars here, we just write about them. Don't shoot the messenger. One paragraph I wrote recently I keep having quoted back at me in e-mails. It bears repeating: "The enemies of the planet, the hypocrites if you will, are not the oil companies that refine the petrol, or car companies that make the vehicles, or the journalists who write about them, or the advertising industry that markets them, or the bankers who lend us money to buy them. The people to blame are the people who buy cars in the first place, without whom none of the vast industry would exist. Now you know who to write letters to."

Most e-mail responses suggested that it's just the media and carmakers who want people to buy bigger and bigger cars. I don't believe it. I know that advertising is powerful, but we all have some independence of mind. They didn't create our preference for comfortable personal transport, and we can't use their corporate excesses as a way of absolving our individual responsibility.

So, ask yourself, is the car you run the smallest, most environmentally friendly you can afford (even though it might not be the cheapest you could get away with)? How about buying the £15,000 electric Twike? Would you rather drive or take the bus? Do you take long-haul flights?

I don't blame you if you do, frankly. For while it's up to us to do whatever we can to help the environment, we are all fragile, and we do need help, and that comes at the national and international level. The price of fuel, air tickets and cars all affects behaviour. We need to be taxed more and made to do what our consciences would like us to do really.

A bit like getting some help to stop smoking, I suppose that to kick our carbon addiction, like beating nicotine, we will need a mixture of external help and willpower. Then again, even if the UK economy simply shut down and stopped consuming energy, the world would still be in trouble because of the industrial revolutions now happening in China, India, Brazil and Malaysia. Not to mention the Americans. Lobby foreign governments to get them to raise fuel duty to UK levels. Vote Green.

The least you could do is to follow our example and go to an organisation such as Climate Care (01865 207 000) or www.carbonneutral.com and ask them to make your life carbon neutral. You'll feel better for it. We certainly do.

motoring@independent.co.uk

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