Fuel efficiency law need of the hour, says Greenpeace

Surging oil prices, booming car population rapidly pushing country to the brink of a financial and climate crisis

Feature story - July 8, 2008
NEW DELHI, India — Greenpeace today launched a nationwide "Let's Drive Change" consumer campaign to support the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in creating strong mandatory fuel efficiency norms for the car industry in India. To highlight the climate impact from cars, Greenpeace created an installation at Connaught Place, in the heart of the capital today to remind the country of the unregulated "climate pollutant" CO2 emissions that automobiles are responsible for. Cars with giant balloons labelled "CO2" connected to car exhausts symbolically drove home the message of climate pollution from the car industry that needs to be regulated.

Greenpeace launches a campaign for mandatory fuel efficiency standards by demonstrating the high CO2 emissions of cars in India. CO2 a major greenhouse gas is the biggest contributor to climate change

"The simplest first step the government and industry can take together to combat the twin threat of climate change and energy security, is to implement a fuel efficiency law now", said Soumyabrata Rahut, Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner. Greenpeace believes that the time for rhetoric on mandatory Fuel Efficiency norms is over, and that the statement made in the Energy Efficiency Mission of the recently announced National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), needs to translate to action. "The soaring fuel prices and the fiscal losses that the Government is facing today should add to sense of urgency on this front", added Mr Rahut.

Statistics from the Indian Automobile Association rate India as the 2nd fastest growing market (14% CAGR) for cars globally which will lead to an incredible surge in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in the next few years. According to Greenpeace, legislation for progressive mandatory fuel efficiency is a critical step required to tackle the fuel crisis that the country faces with a booming car population. India already imports 78% of its crude oil needs, which will rise to 94% by 2030 as estimated by International Energy Agency. "India's need for energy efficiency, renewables and environmental conservation has gained greater urgency in light of the spiralling price of crude oil", said Mr Rahut.

While consumers are aware of and even troubled by the noxious fumes and the pollution that vehicular emissions cause, they are not completely aware of the fact that vehicles emit CO2, a major GHG (greenhouse gas) which is the biggest contributor to global warming. As part of the campaign, Greenpeace has launched a 14-city* nationwide awareness and petitioning drive for consumers to support the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in tabling the fuel efficiency legislation without any delay.

Automobile manufacturers pass their vehicles off as "green" by following Euro emission standards, however, the emissions norms factor in only toxic pollutants and not CO2 emissions. Greenpeace demands that the onus should squarely be on auto manufacturers to deploy technology to reduce CO2 emissions drastically.

Auto manufacturers today refuse to divulge official figures on mileage and CO2 emissions to the consumers. "As a matter of priority, manufacturers must stop hiding information about their vehicles' contribution to climate change. In today's time, consumers buying cars should be aware of the environmental impacts of their purchase decisions", Mr. Rahut said, while pointing out that India would not be the first country to do this, but would only be following the global trend. Vehicular fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions regulation is in practice in different countries including in the EU, China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

Greenpeace demands:

• Mandatory "CO2 emissions labelling" on all new cars in the Indian market, to enable consumers to make informed and responsible car buying choices  

• Mandatory CO2 emission standards for the industry, which will require car manufacturers to progressively reduce CO2 emissions from new cars to achieve a fleet efficiency of 80 gm CO2/km by 2020

* Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Nagpur, Cochin, Lucknow, Goa, Noida, Navi Mumbai

For more information: Soumyabrata Rahut: Climate Campaigner: +91 9845535403 Shweta Ganesh, Greenpeace Communications: +91 9845068125

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