You don’t read the Worldwatch Institute site for good news on global warming, of course. But it’s worth noting their report that world car production was up 4% last year – reaching a new record output of 67 million vehicles. The most dramatic change in the global industry was a 30% increase in the number of cars made in China – displacing Germany to become the number three produce

Chinese output reached 7 million, compared to Germany’s 5.8m. The USA and Japan were the largest and second largest producers respectively.

And while projections are always a little suspect, the trends suggest that the European market will continue to level off while emerging markets make more vehicles. Russia could catch up with Germany by 2015, with India following suit by 2020.

Urban car travel uses up twice as much energy per person-mile as urban bus travel, according the Worldwatch Institute – which means that measures to limit car emissions are unlikely to be sufficient to meet or manage the climate change challenge, according to Worldwatch’s State of the World 2007. It also points out that in the US, the range of models launched in 2006 included the heaviest vehicles in three decades.