Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Ecology review

As compiled in Sam Smith's Progressive Review yesterday, a few interesting developments on the pollution and energy front . . .

BRITISH OWNERS OF GAS GUZZLERS TO BE HIT WITH TAX INCREASE

SEVERIN CARRELL, INPEPENDENT - Motorists who drive fuel-hungry BMWs, people carriers and Range Rovers face a five-fold increase in road tax under radical plans to combat Britain's spiraling greenhouse gas emissions. The proposals are being studied by transport and environment ministers after it emerged that car buyers are ignoring warnings about the dangers of climate change by increasingly choosing luxury cars, larger MPVs and 4x4s with large, powerful engines.

The Government's influential energy conservation agency, the Energy Saving Trust, has told ministers the only way to force motorists to buy "green" cars is to introduce a new top rate of road tax as high as £900 a year. The new tax - more than five times the current rate of £165 a year for petrol engines - would have a major impact, by catching many popular larger family cars such as the Vauxhall Sharan or Ford Galaxy people carriers.

But at the same time, the agency has said, ministers should also make the most energy-efficient cars tax free or even give motorists a £150 annual tax rebate as a reward for buying them.

THAI PRIME MINISTERS ASKS EVERYONE TO TURN OFF LIGHTS FOR FIVE MINUTES

AP - Thailand's prime minister has asked the kingdom's entire population to turn off their lights for five minutes on Wednesday as part of an energy-saving campaign. ... Besides turning off unneeded lights, the government is also urging Thais to turn off air conditioners every day during their one-hour lunch break, and to drive at speeds of no more than 55 miles an hour. Energy Minister Wiset Jupibal has said that Thailand could save $29 million a year if every house switched off a light for one hour each day.

BAY AREA OFFERING FREE TRANSIT ON SMOGGY DAYS

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - Twenty-one public transit agencies around the Bay Area will give morning commuters free rides on as many as five smog-choked weekdays this summer. ... The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is coordinating the free-ride program and paying the bulk of the approximately $4 million cost. The money will cover five Spare the Air days.

categories:  ,