Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More efficient mobility is possible in India - Anant

A lot more efficient mobility is possible by devoting tax funds for free or nearly-free public transit. Several other externalities such as higher pollution, crashes and lost public space could be avoided. Sadly, that is not even an idea in India. Car makers have descended on our country and unleashed an onslaught that promises freedom from rickety public transport options that were designed just after World War II. Car companies have even successfully got cities like Chennai to rip up footpaths in favour of more space for vehicles.

In India's case, all taxpayers are subsidising the rise of cars by sacrificing walking space, opening flyovers, highways and parking spaces, and absorbing the public health costs of accidents mostly out of pocket. Hardly any revenue is being channelled into public transit expansion. -- Anant - commenting on Solar Funds and Auto Subsidy

We agree, mostly. Except two things.

First, it IS an idea in India. Not widespread, but our experience is that with a little advocacy, the idea of free public transport catches on fast. So do not be pessimistic on this item.

Second, there is a huge difference between FREE public transport and Low-Fare public transport. Go HERE to read more by our friend from Sweden on this subject.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fossil-fuel industry influence gridlocks U.S. Congress

...If you want to understand opposition to climate action, follow the money. The economy as a whole wouldn’t be significantly hurt if we put a price on carbon, but certain industries — above all, the coal and oil industries — would. And those industries have mounted a huge disinformation campaign to protect their bottom lines.

Look at the scientists who question the consensus on climate change; look at the organizations pushing fake scandals; look at the think tanks claiming that any effort to limit emissions would cripple the economy. Again and again, you’ll find that they’re on the receiving end of a pipeline of funding that starts with big energy companies, like Exxon Mobil, which has spent tens of millions of dollars promoting climate-change denial, or Koch Industries, which has been sponsoring anti-environmental organizations for two decades.

Or look at the politicians who have been most vociferously opposed to climate action. Where do they get much of their campaign money? You already know the answer.... NYTimes

Friday, July 16, 2010

Himalayan Glaciers Melting Faster Than Anywhere Else in World; Impact Could Devastate Over 1 Billion People

Himalayan Glaciers Melting Faster Than Anywhere Else in World; Impact Could Devastate Over 1 Billion People: "Himalayan Glaciers Melting Faster Than Anywhere Else in World; Impact Could Devastate Over 1 Billion People
We look at the impact of climate change in the Himalayas region in Asia, where scientists are warning glaciers are receding faster than anywhere else in the world, with the potential to devastate over a billion people. The Himalayan glaciers have been described as the water towers of Asia, as they provide a key source of water to ten major Asian river systems. We speak to the prominent Indian scientist and glaciologist Syed Iqbal Hasnain."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

South Asia needs walkability and safety

Air Quality, Climate Change, and Transport: When roads are claiming lives of people: "Walkability is the overall support for the pedestrian environment. This has grown increasingly important as the world urbanizes and motorized modes of transport restrain travel on foot. There are many aspects in the pedestrian environment that contribute to the overall concept of a walkable community. This concern encompasses virtually every aspect of the pedestrian experience. In Kathmandu, walkability is a largely unmeasured and grossly underappreciated component of the urban transportation system.�"