Extinction Rebellion Activists Focused On SUVs

Putting 'parking tickets' on high emission cars and posting one to the Queen



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Before the coronavirus lockdown, local Extinction Rebellion activists were busy putting fake parking tickets on sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in the Putney area. Members of the global climate and ecological justice movement had been targeting what they regard as vehicles with unacceptably high emissions across Putney and surrounding areas of south west London, and they even sent a parking ticket to the Queen to protest her ownership of a Range Rover.

The leaflets look like parking tickets from a distance, but instead contain claims about the impact on health, climate and the quality of our air.

The focus on SUVs followed the annual World Energy Outlook report, which suggested that the growth in SUV sales is the second-largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions since 2010, second only to the power sector (International Energy Agency, 2019). They say that if SUV drivers were a nation, they would rank seventh in the world for carbon emissions. The leaflet also contains statistics on air pollution and road safety in London, as well as suggestions for how car owners can reduce their impacts.

As the Queen drives a Range Rover, Extinction Rebellion activists thought she might also be
interested in the statistics.

A West Putney representative from the group explains said, “The tickets are a way of getting information into people’s hands about how the emissions from some vehicles are much higher than others. Many people have been deceived by the marketing of vehicle manufacturers to think that an SUV is a safe option. We hope owners will read the leaflet and feel empowered and informed.”

She added, “Our key message for people who own SUVs is please just use them as little as possible. We’re fortunate to live in a city with good public transport, and we’re in a climate crisis, as well an air pollution crisis, so we’d ask Londoners to consider whether they really need to own or regularly drive a car? And it would be very powerful if the Queen wanted to show how everyone can make positive changes and do their bit for the climate crisis.”

Activists have been using apps such as Vehicle Smart, which can tell you the emissions of vehicles based on their number plate, to avoid ticketing low emission SUVs. But replacing a petrol SUV with a new electric model isn’t necessarily the solution, as there are huge emissions involved in manufacturing all cars, even electric.

Other suggestions for reducing transport-related emissions include:
- Use public transport, walk or cycle whenever possible
- Not idling a vehicle, particularly in the vicinity of children.
- Where driving is necessary, consider car sharing through offering a space in your car to a
friend or through an app.

There is an email address on the tickets where people can ask for more information or get involved: suvaction@gmail.com

Georgina Stevens

Please note that this activity all took part before the coronavirus lockdown

April 2, 2020

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