With extreme weather events becoming more frequent the world over, including in India, the urgency to address climate change issues and global warming has never been greater. India in particular has been at the receiving end of these recurring extreme weather conditions. From unexpected and untimely torrential rains to floods to landslides to cyclones, the country has been continually ravaged by a spate of extreme weather events in recent times. Now with the onset of the unlock phases post-second Covid wave and the consequent return of private vehicles back on Indian roads, vehicular pollution, one major contributor to climate change is set to not only test people’s breathing organs but also further upset the already faltering weather cycles in the country. One of the ways to stem this vehicular pollution known for a heavy carbon footprint is to curtail the traditional liquid fuels of petrol and diesel and opt for cleaner alternatives such as auto LPG. Even the newly appointed Cabinet Minister for Petroleum, Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri would have a goal to address the pressing issue of air pollution in the urban areas, making sufficient use of cleaner energy to fight severe weather conditions.
With Delhi in the north, registering record temperatures and rainfall, to Bengal and Odisha suffering devastating cyclones and calamitous floods in the east in Assam, to Maharashtra witnessing both record-breaking droughts and floods in the west, to Hyderabad experiencing record rainfall in 24 hours, and Kerala enduring deadly landslides in the south, there is no part of this country which has been immune to these extreme weather events.
Alarmed by these recurring extreme weather events, Indian Auto LPG Coalition or IAC, the apex body of Auto LPG stakeholders in India has drawn the government’s attention towards the issue suggesting that the mass adoption of auto LPG replacing existing liquid fuels, to be one potent countermeasure towards controlling carbon emissions and thereby moderating the extreme weather phenomena.
“Extreme situations demand extreme and instant measures. With extreme weather conditions becoming an everyday reality impacting millions of Indians regularly now, we must hold the bull by its horns. And a part of the solution lies in addressing the vehicular pollution part of climate change with utmost urgency. For years, the liquid fuels of petrol and diesel have caused immense damage to health and the environment. At a time when cleaner and cheaper alternatives such as auto LPG are readily available, the policy persistence with petrol and diesel is simply inexplicable.
Further, the policy optimism on electric vehicles, something which is technologically and financially still decades away – is misplaced and premature. With the most recent emission tests confirming that the tailpipe emissions from auto LPG are even lesser than BS-VI compliant petrol, the government should not waste any time in giving a policy push to mass adoption of auto LPG. Remember, there are nearly 300 million vehicles, including two-wheelers plying there on Indian roads. While the current scrappage policy and the Green tax must be appreciated, the government needs to do more and do it quickly. In fact, the frequent occurrence of extreme weather events impacting the country must be treated as a due warning. And so the government right away needs to introduce policy incentives such as reducing GST on conversion kits along with subsidy support which would go a long way in ensuring mass conversion of existing vehicles into those that could be used on cleaner alternative fuels. The resultant reduction in air pollution would definitely help to a great extent in stemming the tide of extreme weather events that we have witnessed in the country and beyond in the recent past,” said Mr. Suyash Gupta, Director General, Indian Auto LPG Coalition.
“A credible report by a London-based international relief and the humanitarian agency has revealed that India suffered the highest loss of lives in a single event globally on account of climate change-driven events last year. This is ominous enough. On an equally grim note, the same report not only described cyclone Amphan to be the costliest cyclone of the year but also triggered the biggest displacement due to an extreme weather event anywhere in the world in 2020. These are dire signs and the authorities must take note of these,” further added Mr. Gupta.