Sunday, February 24, 2008

Environmental Issues (again)

Not for the first time I'm worried about the fact that when it comes to the environment people don't always consider the big picture.

Today, for example, I read about Virgin Atlantic's headline grabbing First Commercial Biofuel Flight. Aside from the fact I don't see how a special plane running three of it's four engines on standard Jet fuel and carrying no passengers qualifies as "biofuel" or "commercial" I have big reservations about the whole thing. Last week I read in New Scientist that the draining of the Indonesian Peat Bogs for biofuel crops is one of the biggest causes of CO2 being released in to the atmosphere. It was noted that Indonesia isn't part of the Kyoto Agreement. Have I missed something or is it really as bad as it seems?

Then there are the new plans for the London Congestion Charge, supposedly with the environment in mind. If you were wondering why I'd never vote for Ken Livingstone here's one of many good reasons. This article in The Times says it all, really. It's annoyed me for sometime that Ken has changed his mind consistently about the whole issue, and with this latest daft proposal I can't see how it is good for congestion or good for the environment. There are an increasing number of adverts for cars which just squeeze under the magical 120g/km figure. I suspect that this figure is extracted under "ideal" conditions and that most of these cars would normally never achieve it in normal driving. Furthermore, your medium-sized diesel Fiat Bravo still chucks out various nasty gases and particles and still takes up space in London's streets. Will the new proposals reduce congestion? No. Will they help the environment? Probably not. Will they divert attention from the scandals Ken is involved in and win him a few cynical votes? Probably.

Meanwhile, my advice remains the same. Vote Boris.

1 comment:

Gareth P said...

I'm with you on this JP - particularly your assesment of Ken. For me he's always been an insidious character and the Labour party were right to rid themselves of him however many years ago. It's a rather damning indictment of that party though that as soon as he experiences some success they allow him to return to the fold. What is it they say about leopards and spots?

Having read the article I thought the comment by craig of london:

"If ken is serious about emissions then lets start by making all buses, taxies and public transport meet these targets eh. Its not the cars that gave be hell when I used to cycle in to London. It was the buses and taxis."

was interesting. It seems rather pointless to not insist that commercial drivers (particularly the black cabs which have considerably oversized engines) addear to the same standards as everyone else. I would speculate that Taxi's in london account for a sizeable percentage of all the miles covered by car in the congestion zone and that any candidate who was serious about reducing emmisions would leave the congestion charge alone (Having driven in London I have to say my feeling is that whilst they are one or two descrepancies with regards to hybrid cars, the scheme in general has been a success) and get the busses and taxis as green as possible.