Big-talking politicians avoided any meaningful resolution at the Copenhagen summit in December, but you can still do your bit by considering a greener car.
The darling of the Hollywood celebrity is the Toyota Prius, now in its third generation and still racking up glowing reviews. It survives because of its practicality, comfort, economy and low emissions - a combined figure of 72.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 89g/km respectively.
Meanwhile, still smarting from being on the losing side in previous eco clashes with the Prius, Honda is hoping to have better luck with its recently released second generation Insight. Its quest for domination could be helped by the price - lower than the Prius; but remember, it also has lower MPG figures (64.2 combined) and higher CO2 emissions (101g/km).
If you fancy something a little more exclusive, Lexus has launched its latest incarnation of the RX450h. A hybrid SUV might sound like an oxymoron but with a combined cycle of 44.8mpg and reasonable CO2 emissions of 148g/km dealers are able to keep a straight face when extolling the virtues of the big car.
For those of us who can't face kicking the combustion engine to the kerb quite yet, there are a host of new releases hitting showrooms very soon, all claiming to be better for the environment. The 2010 version of the Seat Leon Ecomotive continues to bring a little Spanish style to the green market if you plump for the new entry level Ecomotive. Expect a combined mpg of 74.3 plus a mere 99g/km of CO2 emissions so there'll be no need to pay any road tax. From the French, we have the new Citroen C3 Airdream+ that offers the company's fuel-saving 'Stop and Start' system,the same emissions as the Leon (so again say goodbye to road tax) and boasts a combined mpg of 74.3.
For those wanting something a little more upmarket, the Germans are continuing to make inroads into the green arena. The new Audi A3 1.6 TDi produces the same low amount of emissions as both the C3 and Leon, and a start-stop system, coupled with energy recuperation systems such as brake energy regeneration. Stack that all up and you're looking at a green car with a respectable combined mpg of 61.9 while boasting the kind of torque you'd expect from something decidedly less green.
Adam Phillips, 14th January 2010