Monday, November 15, 2010

Diesel guzzling monsters!

Three cheers for Jairam Ramesh, our environment minister here in India.After hearing him speak in Copenhagen last year during COP 15, his new stance on diesel guzzling SUV's that are more a status symbol than a convenience, is like a breath of fresh air supporting our eternal rant, as environment journos. Never have we had a minister come out so blatantly to hit out on these vehicles that guzzle diesel which is actually heavily subsidized for the poor farmer by the government.

So to cash in to these subsidies, these huge cars run on diesel and clog our roads and crush all the smaller vehicles through sheer dint of size. Most often there is just one macho male in it, looking down on us 'lesser' mortals from his raised platform of a seat.

If the government taxes diesel now, I hope it throws these cars out of the country for good. In Europe most people have gone back to the system of one car per household, several cycles and public transport is used by every family including those with babies. In Stockholm where we were housed for COP 15, we took a really fast train which took us into Copenhagen in 20 minutes! We walked to the station but naturally,but we saw the locals cycle to the station on regular, ordinary cycles, lock them in the stand for the day, ride the train into Copenhagen to work and then returned later in the night to ride the cycle back home once again!But naturally the roads in Malmo were virtually empty!

Take a look at the pics I have uploaded of Malmo station where we caught our train. The hundreds of cycles are mind boggling and we wondered how people could spot their bikes in the dark esp since in winter it grew dark by 4pm!

I admired their determination in that freezing cold. When are we going to imitate them? Only by 2050?


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