Monday, 16 February 2009

India climate ride 2009

Cyclists Vinay Jaju and Huub Dekkers of Why New Coal? rode 1800 km in 18 days from Kolkata to Delhi to protest the government's emphasis on fossil fuels. Vinay explained on the Eurotope environmental youth blog:

The Government of India has approved 213 new coal plants in the next 8 years. This does not make sense at a time when

  • 2/3 of India's CO2 emissions come from coal use in power generation.
  • we face a climate emergency and all life on earth is at threat.
  • coal reserves finish in 30-40 years, whereas the approximate life of a coal plant is about 50 years.
  • renewable alternatives are cheaper, as compared to the massive social and environment cost of coal.

This decision will leave a mess for future generations to deal with -- making India vulnerable [in] energy security, jeopardizing the economy and leaving the planet unlivable. So why new coal, when we have alternatives that exist?

The riders crossed and photographed India's coal mining areas.

Excerpt from their Climate Ride diaries:

We were really pushed - but we ended up doing 165 Km. The first 50 km went well, but the next 40 as we crossed Allahabad and the surrounds were nightmare. It was Uttar Pradesh traffic and roads at its worst - but we managed unharmed, shouting our way out of the hole...

Then we were in for a very strong head wind (we have been getting a moderate head wind through the ride but yesterday was a toughy (it went on until about sunset). i would have never imagined i could do 165 km a day – in fact we exceeded our expectation, our target.

We should not set boundaries for what can be done and what cant be - we can just about achieve anything we want. With india's future energy needs -- if we push ourselves, challenge ourselves and stretch -- i have no doubt that a low carbon even a zero carbon future with no new coal or even no coal is possible.

See also Green-India, Vandana Shiva's, YP Foundation , Youth Climate Network , Resource Development Center, India Resource Center,, and 3 videos by Vinay Jaju's Switch On campaign for renewable energy: one, two, three.

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