This year the Vatican announced plans to replace all motorized vehicles in Vatican City with electric cars by 2017 in a special Green Vatican Initiative. The plan drawn up this year is slated to bring the city to a carbon neutral state by the year 2024. All guards and officials will be using Tesla cars to achieve this and their partnership with same will provide all the vehicles necessary. The projection for the fleet will include 25 black and gray in color and a white version will be the pontiff’s PopeMobile and will be fitted with special security features and specifications.
In an interview with the Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis declared, “I am delighted to make Vatican City a model for sustainability in a world growing too dependent on fossil fuel,” further, he said, “Environmental degradation is one of the great moral issues of our time and I intend to lead by example.”
An Italian newspaper early in the game has suggested that Tesla will modify its iconic T logo into a crucifix just for this project. Although a spokesperson for the company has denied this as being a part of the proposal an image was put up on social media creating a big controversy over it. Now the mayor of Rome is joining in with a vow to adopt some of the Vatican’s new environmental initiative, taking it city wide with plans to put curbside charging stations not just in the area surrounding the Vatican but in other parts and neighborhoods where it is said the parking is extremely limited. Mayor Ignazio Marino’s office are now reviewing proposals for a new fleet of municipal vehicles with hybrid or all-electric engines.
Not everyone is sold on the idea, however. One citizen of Rome, Paolo Barbarosso, who lives in the old area of Borgo where cobbled streets prevail and adjacent to the Vatican says, “It was bad enough when they installed their public composting toilets. First an assault on our noses, now parking troubles and traffic jams!”
There are other concerns, additionally, involving how the new environmental policies will affect tourism at the Vatican. There are plans to expand the restricted area reserved for tour buses and security points will experience increased wait times as well as the fact that available resources once available to tourist operations will become limited as well. The expenditure for the new fleet of cars has not been revealed to the public but there are already critics of this resource many of whom are saying it was an excessive venture, to say the least. One Italian environmentalist has said that the money spent on the cars could have been better spent on purchasing carbon offsets or supporting NGOs who would bring broader solutions to the climate change in the country.
To get in on the conversation and find out more you can check out tweets under hashtags #NoNewPopeMobile and #AprilFools.
The Castle Lady