Monday, November 30, 2009

EU - Let us shift from expensive cars to free public bus or train

The advantages of free public transit are enormous and extremely beneficial for all citizens of the European Union:
  • Drastic decrease in emission of exhaust gases
  • Less noise
  • Less traffic jams
  • Better traffic safety
  • Enormous savings in energy and raw materials
  • Creation of new jobs
  • Ascent of efficient economical development
  • Considerably lower public and personal expenses
  • Empowering of social justice
  • Higher cultural dialogue
  • Creation of friendlier urban environment
Read more at Ecohumanworld

Friday, November 27, 2009

NASA Goddard Director against Cap-and-Trade

...Vice President Al Gore, who perhaps has done more than anyone to raise awareness of climate change, is evidently deceiving himself. "I saw him on Larry King last night," says Hansen, "and what really worries me is that he sounds optimistic that we're now on a track to solve this problem." He lets out an incredulous chuckle. "We're not, however, on a track, and that's clear."...

..."There's a huge gap between their public position and the realities of their policies," he says. "That's the situation we have now in Congress," he adds, alluding to the cap-and-trade legislation that is currently being reviewed by the US Senate. He opposes the bill, in large part because of the offsets system that would allow polluters to continue spewing emissions, but also because political horse-trading has brought in provisions that will enable aging coal plants to stay in operation. The only solution, Hansen says, is to "phase out fossil fuels". And the best way to do that, he contends, is through a carbon tax — or, as he puts it, "a rising price on carbon emissions"....

...individuals cannot solve the problem. "If you reduce your carbon footprint, one of the effects is to reduce the demand, and if a lot of people do that, it makes [fossil fuel] cheaper so somebody else can burn it," says Hansen...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Connecting People with Jobs

Autosprawl is subsidized by the whole of society, but most of the profit goes to the auto, fossil-fuel, and homebuilding industries. Many small business are hurt because their workers cannot afford a car to get to the job.
In central Texas, this problem has been recognized. The solution? Free public transit for poor workers. We hope they will see the benefits and remove fares entirely.

COLEMAN — The Central Texas Rural Transit District, or City and Rural Rides (CARR), has received a grant that will provide free public transportation for select Brown County residents.
“We were awarded a Job Access Reverse Commute program grant, which is funded by the Texas Department of Transportation,” said Adel Hunter, support service manager for CARR. “The grant is designed to help low-income workers and individuals to get to and from work, as well as dropping off any children at day care, prior to going to work or training. Brownwood Bulletin

Monday, November 23, 2009

Antarctic ice loss worse than IPCC 2007 estimate

...In 2007 the UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) predicted sea levels would rise 18 to 59 centimetres (7.2 to 23.2 inches) by 2100, but this estimate did not factor in the potential impact of crumbling icesheets in Greenland and Antarctica.

Today many of the same scientist say that even if heat-trapping CO2 emissions are curtailed, the ocean watermark is more likely to go up by nearly a metre, enough to render several small island nations unlivable and damage fertile deltas home to hundreds of millions.... Independent/UK via CommonDreams

Friday, November 20, 2009

U.S. Senate candidate wants free public transportation

...Robinson, who is running against state Sen. Scott Brown for the GOP nomination in the race for the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s vacant seat, is suggesting the MBTA bailout as part of a proposal to make all public transportation nationwide free. Robinson aides said there are cities in Washington and Oregon that offer free public transit... Boston Herald

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Join Free Public Transport Advocates in Copenhagen

The UN climate meeting, COP15 in Copenhagen, is approaching at breakneck speed and most of us lay our fears and hopes in the hands of the world leaders, wishing that they will come up with a sustainable climate agreement. But we can't afford to leave it all to them.

We want to make COP15 not only a global, but a local issue as well, because it's only through local actions we can achieve global change. We have to shift focus: from abstract percentages and climate targets to concrete political measures. A powerful climate adjustment requires comprehensive infrastructural changes in the transport sector. The key to climate adjustment is to be found in the cities, where most of the emissions are generated. Through simple reforms such as planning our cities for public transport, bicycle and pedestrian transport, we can actively reduce car traffic and cut the emission rates in our cities.

So far, the local transport sector has been sadly neglected in the climate debate, and we doubt that COP15 will produce any change in that area. It's up to us to make this important issue visible and put it on the agenda. Even though the inflation in car traffic is one of our biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and unnecessary oil use, few cities have any serious plans to radically decrease their car traffic. 

Freeing public transport from fares would effectively create incentives for car drivers to choose public transport instead. With just a marginal tax-raise (in Stockholm, capital of Sweden, all commuters who earns less than 5000 Euros a month would benefit from this), the public transport system could be made free at the point of entry. Free public transport is one solution to pollution!

If you are going to Copenhagen in december, please join us in the pink block in the big demonstration on the 12th. And if you are not – make a demonstration at home and turn to your local politicians with demands for a radical, climate friendly transport policy with investments in public transport and zero fares!

Best wishes from - The Swedish free public transport group

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Campaign for Free Public Transport wins Respect

...A message to the Respect Conference from Peter Cranie, the Green Party candidate in the North West at the European Elections supported by Respect, was read out to an enthusiastic ovation. Motions on electoral alliances, supporting the People’s Charter, the political content of our election campaign and alternative strategies to deal with the economic crisis were passed... Respect agreed to affiliate to the Campaign for Free Public Transport. [our emphasis]
Campaign for Free Public Transport Website
Respect Party Website

Hi Michael - Welcome to the Free Public Transport Movement!

10 ideas to save the world (or at least to delay the collapse)
1. Higher taxes on fossil fuels, electricity and animal products
2. Decentralisation of the power generation sector
3. Free public short-distance transportation, lower prices (e.g. by waiving taxes) for trains and buses.
4. Public information campaign about climate change in TV, schools etc.
5. Labelling of consumption goods and services with their ecological footprint (or at least carbon + water footprint)
6. Subsidies, binding standards and incentives for ecological renovation of buildings
7. Cancelling subsidies for non-organic agriculture, coal mining, air traffic and other harmful industrial sectors
8. Starting a decarbonisation competition among cities and other local entities
9. Establishing a “Green GDP”
10. High taxes on luxury goods and services

The basic idea is, that polluting goods and practices become more expensive while others should be cheaper. I´m shure, additional cost (e.g. for gratis public transportation) could be compensated with higher revenues for polluting and luxury products. And not to forget the financial side effects of the suggested measures. If we, for instance, reduce private transportation, we also save money for road building and maintainance, less traffic jams save working time, less pollution and accidents help to reduce health costs etc.
Michael's Climate Blog Berlin Germany

Monday, November 16, 2009

Can we afford free public transit?

People frequently ask us, "how would you pay for free public transit?" Here is our reply: currently the price of oil is artificially low because many of the costs are externalized. Here is an example of an externalized cost:
"In many villages in the vicinity of the oil facilities, locals are not able to drink the water anymore," said Stieglitz. "Locals who drink this kind of water can get diarrhea and the subsequent dehydration of the body, which might lead to death in those areas if left untreated." read the whole article on Voice of America
If public transit were free, then demand for oil would drop precipitously. The oil suppliers would lose political power, and public policy could force them to internalize their costs. Clean drinking water would be just one of the many benefits of free public transit and would more than justify the investment.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Moldova - Free Public Transport struggle continues

On Thursday, more than 100 pensioners and invalids resumed their protest actions demanding free public transport travel in front of the City Hall.

INFOTAG, 12 November 2009, 15:32

Monday, November 9, 2009

The cost of autosprawl: stronger cyclones

Video of cyclone in Bangladesh.
Gabura :: Oxfam GB

...I think a bloc of carbon-neutral, developing nations could change the outcome of Copenhagen.
At the moment every country arrives at the negotiations seeking to keep their own emissions as high as possible.
They never make commitments, unless someone else does first.
This is the logic of the madhouse, a recipe for collective suicide.
We don’t want a global suicide pact.
And we will not sign a global suicide pact, in Copenhagen or anywhere.
So today, I invite some of the most vulnerable nations in the world, to join a global survival pact instead.
We are all in this as one.
We stand or fall together.
I hope you will join me in deciding to stand.
Address by His Excellency President Nasheed at the Climate Vulnerable Forum
Read the whole speech here...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Biofuels do more harm than good

Biofuels: Making the climate crisis worse, not better
Biofuelwatch actively supports the campaign for an EU moratorium on agrofuels from large-scale monocultures. Agroenergy monocultures are linked to accelerated climate change, deforestation, the impoverishment and dispossession of local communities, bio-diversity losses, human rights abuses, water and soil degradation, loss of food sovereignty and food security.
There is a lot of talk about replacing fossil-fuels with agricultural "renewables." It is only accelerating global warming. Follow the links above to see the evidence of this.

Instead of trying to save the autosprawl system we need a mass movement for free public transport - now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

£40 billion more for banks - green investment goes begging

However, instead of taking over these banks entirely as it did with Northern Rock, the Government decided instead to allow these banks’ shareholders to keep their shares, giving them a financial value they wouldn’t otherwise possess. In so doing the Government effectively unnecessarily transferred many £billions of ‘taxpayers’ money directly to the value of the share portfolios of those banks’ current and former investors.

...And if such huge sums of money can be found almost at a drop of a hat to ’sort out the banks’ (the £40 billion injection today just further shores up existing investors, will not create any new jobs, but rather is to be accompanied with staff cuts) why not much smaller amounts for environmentally ‘friendly’, job creation and economically more reflationary measures such as a massively expanded public transport system that is fully integrated, publicly owned and free to everyone at the point of use, such as is being advocated by the Campaign for Free Public Transport?  socialistresistance