Wednesday, February 28, 2007

In praise of... a brighter idea

"Buying a gas-guzzling 4x4 vehicle is an 'individual choice' but it creates carbon emissions that contribute to global warming and harm everyone. It should be no more socially acceptable than to claim the right to dump rubbish in the street."

-Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London

Mr Livingstone has recently unveiled plans to cut London's carbon emissions by 60% in 20 years. A slightly brighter idea.
Series so far: I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X.

11 comments:

Erin King said...

You know Byron, he says that, but the 2012 Olympics are supposed to be the "greenest ever" and they are going to go something like 4 times over budget for this to happen. And the plans for the green city seem to revolve around putting terrace gardens on the roofs of council estates and raising the congestion charge for cars in Central London by £1 every few minutes (it's just gone up to £8 (would you pay $20 to drive through Sydney?)...
But I'm cynical about Ken Livingstone these days...(gosh, I've really turned into a Londoner...)
I like the light globe thing better (they call them light bulbs over here)
Gosh, that was a rant...

Jonathan said...

I'm not usually a defender of Red Ken, but Olympics running over budget is hardly unusual! And not wanting to pay the congestion charge is partly the point of it - the question is whether the benefit is worth the cost. The mayor's latest plan actually includes basing the congestion charge on the efficiency of the vehicle, not simply raising. Will this and other aspects of the plan work as predicted? Probably not, but it definitely seems to be heading in the right direction.

I'm more disturbed by the reference to dumping rubbish in the street. I wish I could find out exactly what my borough has done with its recycling service!

byron said...

Erin - is there something wrong with putting terrace gardens on the roofs of council estates?

And I'm with Jonathan and quite like the congestion charge - it helps reflect something of the cost of using private vehicles in dense urban areas. And if peak oil is anywhere near the money, it's only a small taste of what petrol could soon cost...

Christopher said...

Fuel, roads, cars etc should be taxed even higher to subsidise better public transport networks. The prices that people pay for public transport is ridiculous, and the fact that they seem to increase the price every 6 months is an outrage I tell you. It should be virtually free. But instead we have "Mum's and Dad's" in FWD's literally driving over their own children, other people's children, and the children of future generations.

Exiled Preacher said...

4 x 4's should only be sold to farmers! Who else needs them?

Christopher said...

Who else needs them?
Apparently some short people.
My old neighbour said that she needed a FWD because she was short and felt insecure on the road. She now feels "powerful" while the rest of us feel more insecure.

Looney said...

Somehow I think Livingstone's remark could apply to 99% of the products we use. For example, why cut trees for toilet paper when it would be more eco-friendly just to wipe with your hand?!!!

Not that I am opposed to doing things for the environment, but it seems the viewpoint is a bit narrow.

byron said...

Looney - I suspect that his words apply to some products more than others. And urban 4WDs are, to my mind, certainly one of the sillier excesses of human selfishness.

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

I'm all in favor. I'd love to see similar moves in the U.S. Cities, states, etc. are no longer waiting around for national politicians to get on board. They are taking emergency measures to limit the impact of global warming. Long overdue.

One of Freedom said...

I'm always looking at the make of VUEs, since that is what I bought. And it saddens me that the majority of them are AWDs and I've only seen one other Hybrid VUE on the road. But aside from that, the size of vehicles in North American is consistantly excessive. Big boxy trucks and cars dominate our roads. I wonder what effect it would have if we only bought cars that accomodated our needs instead of wants.

Drew said...

An uncle of my wife is visiting from the UK. Had a long chat with him on Saturday about congestion charges, Sydney traffic (which is stupidly apalling), and other things. He has worked with Ken Livingstone on various projects (he's an architect), and says the congestion charge was one of the best things they could have ever done.

YES, they should definitely have one for Sydney. We have a ridiculour dependence on cars in this city, and need to be weened off them!