India: Green Tribunal rules no new diesel government vehicles in Delhi

Delhi is the world’s most polluted city

The National Green Tribunal, an Indian government body responsible for ruling on cases related to environmental protection, have decided that the Centre and the Delhi government cannot buy new diesel cars.

Delhi has the unwanted tag of being the world’s most polluted city, overtaking Beijing in 2014. The tag has, however, had the effect of galvanising a social reaction that has led to support for policies like the ‘odd-even’ rule, which will be implemented from the 1st of January 2016. The initiative has labelled cars with a number and only cars with an even number can drive in the city on even calendar dates, and vice versa.

On the international stage, the effects of pollution and climate change in India, the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, have animated Narendra Modi’s regime to set an example with commitment to climate change targets and investment in clean energy projects.

Two degrees of global temperature rise would be projected to submerge parts of Mumbai and Chennai, displacing 7 million people, and shifting growing season could cause rice production to fall by 40%. Overall, the projected effects of a 2C rise in temperatures could cut 9% from India’s GDP, according to the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research.

The ban on new diesel cars for central bodies in India’s capital will start immediately, but the tribunal also recommended a ban for citizens. Emissions from diesel cars, which account for 23% of registered cars in Delhi, are generally considered more harmful than those from petrol engines. In April this year, the Green Tribunal banned diesel cars that were more than 10 years old.

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