Mumbai: After traversing 43,000 km across 30 countries spanning five continents on his self-made solar and wind-powered trike (tricycle) 'IBN Battuta', French writer and eco-warrior David Ligouy, 54, has entered Mumbai to flutter his flag against climate change, biodiversity loss and threat of nuclear weapons. He was all set to embark on his Asian leg of journey last week, but his plan was cut short.
Ligouy claimed that he is struggling to get his trike cleared from Customs. He pointed out that he hit a roadblock after having a smooth ride all across the Middle East, Central and North America. In his sixth year of riding the electric tandem trike, the Frenchman had planned to pedal across Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and West Bengal. His extended itinerary includes crisscrossing Bangladesh before concluding his trip at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP29 at Baku, Azerbaijan, in November.
Ligouy lauds Mumbai's resilience, advocates for environmental action
In an exclusive interaction with The Free Press Journal at the Gateway of India, Ligouy described Mumbai as a place full of life. “I donated blood at the CSMT. Mumbai is chaotic, but manages to move on without a pause. I can feel the enthusiasm and the bonhomie,” he rejoiced. Talking about his global tour for a cause, he said, “Terracide. Ecocide + genocide. World CO2 emission has to be cut down and sustainable renewable energy technology promoted in developing nations,” underlined the author of three books on climate change and sustainable energy. Accelerating the reduction of emissions from road transport and rapid deployment of zero and low emission vehicles is an efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas on a large scale, explained the adventurer, while highlighting the triple green energy and double efficiency goals of 2030 on climate change.
Arguing to eliminate “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”, Ligouy said that China annually spends USD 2.2 trillion as subsidies followed by the USA (USD 760 billion) and India (USD 340 billion). The need of the hour is to divert funds towards more efficient renewable energy. Global South needs USD 5.7 trillion a year for clean energy, he added. Lauding India for making rapid strides in harnessing solar power and transition of public transport to green energy, Ligouy continued, “I was amazed at the rooftop solar panels at CSMT and other public places. The electric public transport buses and large number of electric vehicles on the roads is very encouraging.”
A qualified electrical engineer from the University of Stanford, England, Ligouy started building the trike in April 2018. Pinning the blame on the Customs clearing agent for misleading him by making him sign on blank papers, Ligouy lamented, “The shipping agent Globelink suggested some local brokers. They asked to pay Customs duties and additional payments. I have been advised that no levies are applicable. Due to the inordinate delay, the warehouse is demanding additional charges plus taxes,” he bemoaned.