Monthly Bulletin issue 30 - December 2001

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for faiture to monitor CO2 emissions from passenger cars.

The European Commission has decided to open infringement procedures against Austria, Greece, Finland, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Sweden for failing to comply with important elements of a 2000 Decision (1753/2000/EC) on monitoring average specific emissions of CO2 from new passenger cars.

Commenting on the legal action taken, Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström said: "We hope that the Member States concerned will provide us with the required data as soon as possible. It is an important element of the Commission's proposed strategy for reducing CO2 emissions from passenger cars and for improving fuel economy. It also helps Member States achieve the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are set in the Kyoto Protocol." The 2000 Decision is aimed at ensuring that minimum data is compiled to enable the proper functioning of a Community scheme to monitor the average specific emissions of CO2 from new passenger cars registered in the EU. Furthermore, it requires Member States to supply the Commission with data when requested, to designate a competent authority to collect and communicate the monitoring information and to report to the Commission on how they intend to implement its provisions. The deadline for information gathering, communicating and monitoring and for reporting on implementation was 28 February 2001.

None of the Member States concerned has reported to the Commission, within the stipulated 28 February 2001 deadline, on how they intend to implement its provisions. None of the Member States concerned, except for Finland, has designated a competent authority to collect and communicate the monitoring information before the given 28 February 2001 deadline. None, except for Finland, has supplied the Commission with the necessary data with regard to CO2 emissions from passenger cars before the 1 July 2001 deadline. It should be mentioned, however, that a few Member States did meet some of these requirements, but this was only after the given deadline had passed, e.g. Denmark and Italy passed the data. Brussels, 10 December 2001 - from www.climnet.org


In London, U.K., pensioners have become prisoners in their own homes - because an ambulance which usually takes them to a day centre cannot negotiate their traffic-clogged street.

The ambulance is supposed to pick them up from sheltered accommodation in Holland Grove, Brixton, and take them to a local day centre. But it stopped the run a fortnight ago because it is unable get into the car park of the old people's housing.

A spokeswoman for Lambeth council, which runs the ambulance service, said: "Cars park flush to the corner of the entrance so the ambulance can't negotiate the corner to get into the scheme." Treasurer of Holland Grove Residents' Association, Marie Farrell, told the South London Press: "These people are actually prisoners in their own homes."Association chairman Tony Heggarty said bin lorries were also having problems getting down the street. He added residents were concerned a fire engine would not be able to drive down the road. See: http://icsouthlondon.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0200southlondonheadlines


"Birmingham, U.K., is bidding to become the first city in Britain to bring back traditional horse-drawn taxi carriage services." said Birmingham Evening Mail. The story mentions that such services are "ever-present" in many European cities and for visitors to "New York's central park".

The idea will be trailed in our Jewellery Quarter at the area's day long Street Craft Fair and Antiques Market. Martin Parnham of Festival organisers "Town Centre Management" says "We think it would be ideal for Birmingham city centre because large parts of the city are pedestrianised. They really are pleasant and I can envisage them driving up and down Broad Street."

I suspect these things cannot work where they must share streets with cars whose drivers think they should be able to go faster. If all traffic were to be slowed down so that drivers did not get "held-up" by horse drawn traffic the situation could improve. - from: "Simon Baddeley" s.j.baddeley@bham.ac.uk


Ford has ditched plans to use a form of gas-electric hybrid technology to significantly improve the fuel-efficiency of the Explorer, the world's best-selling Sport Utility Vehicle. Ford insiders said the decision was made because of a cash shortage and less success than expected with the "integrated starter- generator" technology, which would have saved gas when the vehicle was at a standstill. The technology was integral to the automaker's plan to boost SUV fuel-efficiency by 25 percent by 2005. A spokesperson said Ford stood by that pledge, and CEO William Clay Ford, Jr., indicated that the company was still committed to hybrid versions of the Escape, a smaller SUV. - from Detroit Free Press, Jeffrey McCracken, 16 Nov 2001.


It was a night of political action, righting the wrongs of corporate capitalism, pulling the masks off the tyranny of the modern world: cars. Part of the power of the subversive night came from the strength of embodying something bigger and different than one's usual self. It started with a sun, a cow pelvis druid, an undertaker with a rickshaw, Captain Un-America, an owl, an unmasked instigator, and a reluctant tree, (ResponsibiliTree). The idea of blocking Pacific Avenue [in Santa Cruz, California] had sprung from the beginning of the evening while adjusting costumes. The site of cars on Pacific dodging Halloween goers and overflowing sidewalks spurred more talk for the subversives. A city council member dressed as a monster approached the sun and said I thought you'd have the street blocked by now, lending more fuel to the flame. On the corner of Pacific and Soquel, next to New Leaf, the sun and the owl fearlessly approached the cars, the rickshaw took over the road, and the costume less instigator grabbed a traffic barrier, come on let's block the road, I hung back.

The police we hadn't noticed before followed us into the street and said, "You can not obstruct traffic," taking the barricades with them. We stood on the corner somewhat defeated socializing with the passer bys, when someone said let's go check out the intersection at Cathcart. We had some success, we were stopping the flow of traffic, except for the big ass SUVs they could see the street wasn't full of people. The partygoers were sticking to the sidewalks like all well trained citizens and not taking to the streets even though we had created a space for them by stopping the traffic. So we tried blocking the sidewalks and asking people to take the street. A different couple of cops told us to stop directing traffic. The cops left and after a bit we again started directing cars to either turn right or left and not to go down Pacific. It was termed the talk and block method, "oh you don't want to go down there, you will get nowhere." This is an example of a quiet revolution, and how a few masked individuals strategically located can start a huge block party or a painless revolt. - by Brown


  • Chris Carlsson started the process of soliciting contributions for a global Critical Mass history book, to celebrate the 10th birthday, in September 2002, in San Francisco. Any writings, photos, flyers, xerocratic missives, etc. that you'd like to contribute would be great, as would any new essays, critial/analytical pieces, etc. Chris Carlsson, ccarlsson@shapingsf.org, was co-founder of Critical Mass in 1992

  • One of the people who receive our bulletin sent us a correction. "For the chronicle: the first motor-only highway wasn't inaugurated by Hitler in 1933, as your quotation from Wolfgang Sachs puts about." "There are rumors downt here [Italy] that the absolute premiere is the italian Milano- Laghi (85 Km) opened in 1925." she said. "This of course doesn't invalidate your report. It's only for the chronicle, as I said."

  • The first issue of Culture Change magazine has been printed It is numbered #19, in recognition of Auto-Free Times's 18 issues devoted to cultural change (in energy and land use). Positive solutions to ecocide and the rat race are offered in this issue, but they have just begun, so please send your suggestions and submissions. Visit the Culture Change website at http://www.culturechange.org

  • Cutting Your Car Use (available from Car Busters) has sold over 10.000 copies in the 17 months since publication. This British self-help manual on personal transport it's been reprinted twice and already updated. Does anyone want to discuss the rights or a version for any other country? Anna Semlyen www.cuttingyourcaruse.co.uk info@cuttingyourcaruse.co.uk

  • The Ecotopia camp has already become a tradition. For many people this event is strongly connected with the Ecotopia Biketour. As you might already know the next Ecotopia camp will take place in Ireland this summer. That means that the 12th Ecotopia Biketour will cross for once again some of the European countries with final destination the Irish island. People from all over Europe are going to have the chance to have a wonderful and adventurous bike ride, visit some beautiful countries and do actions. It will probably start on July and some of the possible countries, apart from Ireland, are England, France, Germany.
    So, if there are people interested to participate or hopefully organize the bike tour for their own countries, they can contact at the following email address: btour2002@yahoo.com. We are longing for your interest and your help.

  • United Nations Volunteer in Bosnia for 6 months. There is an opportunity to work in Bosnia for the U. N. Volunteers Programme for 6 months starting as soon as posible. The focus of the work will be development of youth policy and involvement in the "Joint Youth Programme". The placement would be ideal for a youth activist or trainer who has been involved in building up national youth structures and also knows the European scene quite well. For more info contact lmesbah@pip.undp.ba


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