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World Carfree Bulletin #1 - October 2003

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Attention, collectors! Hot off the cyber-press, this is the FIRST edition of...World Carfree News! Do not fret, it will contain the same wonderful bits of information, news and announcements as the former Car Busters Monthly E-Bulletin.

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WORLD CARFREE NEWS >>>
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Edition no. 1 - October 2003 - English version
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Contents:

IN BRIEF

WORLD NEWS
- SCHWARZENEGGER REVEALS AMBITIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL PLAN
- FRANCE MULLS CONGESTION CHARGE FOR PARIS
- GAMBLING WITH OUR HEALTH IN POLLUTED VALLEYS
- SUSTAINABILITY DISMMISSED IN COMMISSION PLANS FPR TENs EXPANSION

GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
- DECEMBER KYOTO NEGOTIATIONS IN MILAN
- OIL, WAR AND CLIMATE CHANGE SEMINAR IN LONDON TOMORROW
- BOSTON VOLUNTEERS NEEDED SUNDAY TO SEND BIKES TO GHANA

WORLD CARFREE NETWORK ANNOUNCEMENTS
- WORLD CARFREE DAY: FINAL CALL FOR REPORTS
- MAGAZINE #18 SUBMISSION DEADLINE: OCTOBER 17
- INTERNSHIPS AVAILABLE
- EXPERIENCED FUNDRAISER SOUGHT

DISCLAIMER

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IN BRIEF >>
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- Twenty people died in car crashes this past weekend in the Czech Republic, a new record. In one case, a man was driving through a village at 150 km/h and hit a car, killing the three policemen inside. Ironically enough, the weekend was also designated as one where police set up checkpoints througout the country to catch bad drivers.

- Official figures show that in London, England, two-and-a-half times as many men as women cycle every day, and nearly twice as many men than women cycle regularly or infrequently.

- The San Francisco Chronicle (www.sfgate.com) reports that transport officials in the city are considering allowing drivers to pay extra to buy their way into some carpool lanes -- even if they're not carrying passengers. "Hot lanes," as they are called throughout the US, essentially allow drivers to buy their way out of gridlock by paying a toll to use the carpool lanes.

- In their annual report, the Texas Transportation Institute found that the average rush-hour driver in the US spent about 26 hours sitting in traffic in 2001.

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WORLD NEWS >>
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SCHWARZENEGGER REVEALS AMBITIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL PLAN

Even if he did grope women and then deny their accusations, or play Nazi marching tunes and pretend to be an SS officer, Arnold Schwarzenegger will be the next governor of California, so we have to take him seriously. His approach to environmental problems is typified by the following: Schwarzenegger has a personal fleet of five of the most destructive commerically available sport-utility vehicle -- the Hummer. However, he will mitigate the damage by converting one of his Hummers to run on hydrogen, at a cost of US$21,000. He said he would sign an executive order to create a network of hydrogen fueling stations by 2010. (No hydrogen vehicle is scheduled to hit the market until 2006; it is unknown whether the hydrogen will be produced from fossil fuels, nuclear energy, or "alternative" sources.)
He cited the California Environmental Protection Agency as one of those "overlapping agencies" that could be eliminated because "we have to strip that down and get rid of some of those agencies."But at the same time, he said he would would prevent coastal oil drilling, seek to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent within two years and protect parks and open spaces.
When Schwarzenegger unveiled his environmental policy, he was interrupted at times by a few protestors, one using a megaphone to shout, "A Hummer isn't clean and Arnold isn't green." Schwarzenegger arrived at the press conference in a GMC sport-utility vehicle.


FRANCE MULLS CONGESTION CHARGE FOR POLLUTED PARIS
[from Reuters]

France is considering a London-style vehicle congestion charge for Paris in an effort to reduce choking pollution which has pushed the capital close to emergency traffic restrictions, a government minister said. "An urban toll is one solution," said Ecology Minister Roselyne Bachelot. Pollution levels in Paris saw police impose speed restrictions three days in a row in mid-September. The authorities, if they deem it necessary, can order every other car off the road in an attempt to limit pollution levels. Alternate car travel -- under which vehicles are only allowed on the road every other day, depending on whether their registration plates end in an odd or even number -- has been imposed only once before in Paris, in October 1997. The measure cut traffic by 20 percent.


GAMBLING WITH OUR HEALTH IN POLLUTED VALLEYS
[submitted by Initiative Transport Europe (ITE)]

On October 4, ITE coordinated a day of International Action for a new transport policy. Actions against road transport through Europe took place in the Pyrenees, the Vosges, the Jura and the whole of the Alps, from France to Austria. Alpine populations seek a reduction in air and noise pollution (a truck is three to five times more polluting in mountain valleys than on flat land). This can be accomplished through a truck tax on all roads, according to weights and distances (as is done in Switzerland and shortly in Germany), based on the polluter-pays principle. Furthermore, they say that a ban on night time trucks will lead to improvements in the health of local populations, as truck pollution in the mountains is six times higher at night than in the day.


SUSTAINABILITY DISMMISSED IN COMMISSION PLANS FOR TENs EXPANSION
[from the The European Federation for Transport and Environment: http://www.t-e.nu/docs/Press/2003/newTENproposal.htm]

BRUSSELS, Belgium - NGO fears were justified that 200 billion in new Trans-European Network for Transport (TENs-T) construction would get a political green light. On October 1, the European Commission unveiled a proposal to extend the TENs-T to the new EU member states.
The Commission proposal, detailing plans to update regulations governing the TENs-T, provides for road and rail infrastructure projects totalling about 220 billion to be given the go-ahead without thorough scrutiny from an environmental, social and economic perspective, as enshrined in the laws governing EU funding. Instead, the projects will be given a "European interest" seal of approval and simply have to undergo a single trans-national assessment.
"These proposals mean that even if a significant number of stakeholders in one country oppose a project for environmental reasons, their opinion can simply be disregarded due to the 'European interest of the project'," explained T&E Project Officer Nicoleta Ion. "Basically a project can get the green light despite a possible negative recommendation from an assessment at a lower level. This is an unacceptable violation of EU rules and a total disregard for the EU citizens' will."
"Without a serious assessment that takes into account economic, social, and environmental costs and benefits, we risk repeating errors of the past in relation to infrastructure investment -- not only wasting money, but also incurring heavy ecological and social costs that will lead to greater economic burden for future generations," said Andreas Beckmann of WWF.
The Trans-European Network for Transport projects consist largely of proposed cross-border major European rail and road routes. Earlier this year a report by former Commissioner Karel Van Miert proposed that the TENs list be expanded to include 22 new trans-European infrastructure projects, which will cost more than 250 billion.

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GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS >>
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DECEMBER KYOTO NEGOTIATIONS IN MILAN
[submitted by Giovanni Pesce]

Milan is going to host the next round of Kyoto negotiations (COP9), taking place in the industrial capital of Italy on December 1-2. Over 10,000 people are expected to arrive in Milan -- government representatives, lobbists, delegates from nonprofit organisations, and environmentalists.
A large mobilization is planned for December 6, calling for a STOP IN GLOBAL WAR(M). A considerable number of Critical Mass activists will arrive in Milan by bicycle, for an act of massive oil desertion. The idea is to let government representatives know they should forget about moving by car in those days and choose light transport instead. We will facilitate their decision by simply creating a massive a colourful traffic jam. Everybody is invited to join in. There will be large accommodation facilites. If you wish us to keep you informed about proceedings of the mobilisation, please let us know by sending an e-mail to lacop9seitu@domeus.it.
More info on: www.cop9italia.org (the COP9 website of the environmental associations -- unfortunately only in Italian for the moment). Also see http://italy.indymedia.org and www.inventati.org/criticalmass.


OIL, WAR AND CLIMATE CHANGE: DISMANTLING THE OIL ECONOMY
LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS. SATURDAY OCTOBER 11
[submitted by London Rising Tide]

Following the invasion of Iraq and an unprecedented heat wave in Europe, this gathering will expose the connections between oil, war, and climate change. It brings together experienced campaigners from across the environmental, peace and social justice movements to share strategies and develop proposals for new campaigns. The day will combine presentations, workshops, slides, slides and specially commissioned video. Call the Rising Tide Oxford office at 01865 241 097.


VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO SEND BIKES TO GHANA
[submitted by Bikes Not Bombs]

BOSTON, USA - Bikes Not Bombs needs lots of volunteers this Sunday, October 12, to help sort bikes and parts, flatten more bikes, and load up the container. No experience necessary! We'll provide breakfast and lunch for all volunteers. We'll start at 10 am and should be finished by 4pm. Come for whatever part of this time works for you. We'd love to know beforehand who is planning to come and when, so reply if you can.
Ghana's government has recognized the potential of bikes to meet transport needs and several years ago removed tariffs on imported bicycles. Bike usage has increased significantly, however, high prices keep bikes out of reach of many people. Also there is a serious shortage of spare parts, aggravated by a lack of tools and skilled mechanics. Hundreds of people have gone into business as bike mechanics and parts dealers without any training, guided by common sense, resourcefulness, and hope. Village Bicycle Project builds on those qualities, with bikes, tools, and training.
For more information and photos from the VBP, see http://www.ibike.org/vbp.

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WORLD CARFREE NETWORK ANNOUNCEMENTS >>
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WORLD CARFREE DAY: FINAL CALL FOR REPORTS

After our pre-bulletin announcement, the responses began flowing in from Turku, Finland to Sao Paolo, Brazil. Many of you report positive responses to your actions, with, of course, the inevitable grumbling from local businesses about lost profit. We are putting together all your reports for the next magazine, but the more, the better! So if you still haven't written in with your World Carfree Day report, send it now before its too late. Send to info@carbusters.org.


MAGAZINE #18 SUBMISSION DEADLINE: OCTOBER 17

From now until October 17 is your last chance to send in articles, letters to the editor, announcements, graphics or anything for the upcoming magazine Car Busters #18. Send to info@carbusters.org.


INTERNSHIPS AVAILABLE

Are you under 26 and from an EU country? We at World Carfree Network are looking for two inspired individuals to join our team in Prague for one year from April 2004, funded by the European Voluntary Service Programme. If you have a good number (but of course not necessarily all) of the following attributes, then you could be among the finalists: strong English writing and editing skills; a sense of humour; publication layout skills; web design ability; an activist perspective; translation skills; campaigning experience; attention to detail; extensive knowledge of transport(ation) issues; fundraising experience; and a desire to pull these all together to stir things up at the international level. Please contact us and we'll send more info.


EXPERIENCED FUNDRAISER SOUGHT

World Carfree Network is seeking an experienced fundraiser with a proven track record to join our Prague-based team full- or half-time as soon as possible, for a year or more. Should be familiar with the funding programmes of the European Commission, Council of Europe and private foundations in Europe and abroad. Commission-based wage (10-15% of funds raised, based on experience), plus start-up wage negotiable. Flexible hours and six weeks holiday. Applicants should send a CV (resume) and letter of motivation/experience to info@carbusters.org.

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DISCLAIMER >>
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We apologise if the the frequent references to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the last few bulletins have bothered you. Sadly, people like him are aspiring to the highest political positions throughout the world, not only the US. It then falls on us to ridicule, expose and, ultimately, burst the egotistical bubble of such personalities.

[end]
 
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