A Petrol Ban? Can it Happen?
Ambitious goals are to be admired, but sometimes those goals might not be practical or possible. The French government has released plans for a lofty goal: to ban petrol and diesel, as well as vehicles that require such forms of fuel, by 2040. Although France is the home of the Paris Accord and the government resolves to meet that agreement's goals, the environment isn't the only concern that comes into play. France's reputation as a global climate leader is also at stake. But with this resolution, many may wonder if the bar been set too high.
The resolution to ban petrol and diesel won't reach its peak until 2040. In the meantime, the following actions need to be taken. Land tenure laws and cumbersome administrative obstacles must be relaxed in order for sustainable energy sources to find the best locations and distribution points. Whether wind or solar, these energy sources must expand or else the demand for electricity will not be met. Once energy production reaches necessary milestones it is possible for French citizens to switch from pollution-causing diesel and petrol to electric-powered cars. Aside from new vehicles, an end to gas queues and the need for electric power stations, urban ways of life will see an impact. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo considers private vehicles "archaic." She envisions a city where residents rely on walking, cycling, and public transport.
Are the majority of Parisians prepared for entire boulevards made unavailable to private vehicles? If the pay-off is cleaner air and improved health then they might be able to sacrifice private cars. To get an idea of the importance of clean air in Paris consider that in 2015 Paris was rated the most polluted city in the world, ranking higher than both Delhi and Beijing. Such a status could very well encourage Parisians to ride the bike lane to work. They might not even wait until 2040. Their reputations and respiratory systems are at stake.
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