Last Wednesday, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland in California filed separate lawsuits against five oil companies – ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP and Royal Dutch Shell – seeking compensation to protect them against rising sea levels which they blame on climate change. The two cities are alleging that the companies have “knowingly and recklessly created an ongoing public nuisance that is causing harm now and in the future risks catastrophic harm to human life and property.” They are seeking compensation to finance infrastructure to deal with rising sea levels. Several counties in California have filed similar lawsuits while prosecutors for New York and Massachusetts are investigating Exxon over the possibility that it misled investors in public statements on the risks of climate change.
In the coming weeks, India will roll out nearly 100,000 battery-powered buses and autorickshaws onto its highly polluted city streets, as part of its commitment to having all new vehicles electrically powered by 2030. According to Greenpeace, at least 1.2 million people in India die every year because of pollution. Britain and France have also indicated that they want to end the sale of fossil fuel cars by 2040. Here in Guyana, we can do our part by considering the progressive phasing out the importation of these vehicles and replacing them with electrically powered ones. We could also consider restricting the importation of luxury-type vehicles that consume enormous amounts of fuel compared with the average vehicle. The average vehicle emits 20 pounds of carbon dioxide for every gallon of fuel consumed. In addition, with an annual current expenditure of $2.737 billion and $1.162 billion on fuel and lubricants, and repairs and maintenance respectively on government vehicles, a worthwhile consideration could be a critical review of the list of vehicles under the control of Ministries, Departments and Regions with a view to reducing their numbers as not only a cost-saving measure but also a contribution to combating global warming and climate change…..