Representatives of 195 nations came to Paris to attend the UN COP 21 summit to ‘tackle’ the climate change crisis faced by the citizens of the world due to a suicidal model of development and unsustainable industrialization.
The nations attending were represented by Heads of State, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Vice-presidents, Ministers and thousands of diplomats. There was also a vast rainbow of NGOs and activists scrutinizing their every move. The UN was represented by Ban Ki Moon, its Secretary General, and by Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and by hundreds of its diplomats. Despite this very high level of representation and even if many of the world’s top journalists covered the COP 21 event, there was no serious mention or detailed coverage of what the world needs to do with its more than 1 billion cars, trucks and buses and with its public transport, even though transportation is a major cause of toxic, climate changing gases.
It is well known by all of us that combustion engines are used to commit suicide by desperate people who lock themselves in a garage with the engine of their car running until its toxic emissions kill them. With more than a billion cars in circulation and more than 66 million new cars produced every year, it is time to realize that the atmosphere is our collective garage and to declare that: combustion engines belong in a museum as a sign of how humanity almost committed mass suicide, killing millions of people each year with poisonous gases from cars, trucks, buses and other combustion engines throughout the world.
Government officials have to face up to their lack of responsibility in protecting citizens. Mainstream politicians have been the principle defenders of the combustion engine and the car industry, and the silent but avid opponents of increased investments in mass transport. Appalling examples of these suicidal transport policies can be seen in Europe and Japan and especially in the United States and Canada. Many others such as Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, China, India, Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria, Turkey, Australia, South Africa, Russia are not much different.
G20 nations are not the exception in this suicidal defense of the combustion engine and there continues to be a marketing push to own big and heavy weight cars as a status symbol. Both are not only unnecessary but should be illegal. It is high time that the use of the combustion engine as the main form of personal and cargo transport be outlawed.
The COP 21 deadlines do not have a real sense of urgency. If COP 21 was to be considered a meaningful summit, then a major decision on public transport should have been adopted. Developed nations must introduce EMERGENCY MEASURES like reducing the use and circulation of combustion engine vehicles by 20 percent by the end of 2016, then by 40 percent by the end of 2018 until they are all out of circulation in 5 years, by the end of 2020.
These goals are achievable with an aggressive and well thought-out public transport policy and new legislation on combustion engines, size and weight of all vehicles. There are countries in Europe like the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain (all car producing nations) where the cost of travel by train is artificially high and where night trains are almost illegal, measures designed to help auto manufacturers sell vehicles, buses and trucks that can pollute and kill us 24 hours a day.
Which political leaders are willing to fight until all of us can breath fresh air again and millions stop dying due to air pollution? I am sorry to say, I can’t name a single one among the leaders of the G20 nations.
If we want fresh air, we must accept it’s TIME FOR CHANGE! High time to create a real TASK FORCE with a sense of mission that has as its goal to stop all deaths caused by air pollution and to take a giant step towards stopping climate change.
Most of those who travelled to COP 21 created a lot of air pollution but did not tackle the real issues, they only tickled the auto industry.
What do you think? Should we relegate the combustion engine to its rightful place: museums?