France Plans to Ban Gasoline Cars by 2040
France has a problem with pollution. Last December, air pollution in Paris peaked, continuing to cause a major health concern for Parisians everywhere. Air pollution may cause as many as 48,000 deaths per year in France alone.
As the world's leaders begin to move forward with the Paris Climate Agreement, President Emmanuel Macron has declared that France will rid itself of gasoline cars by 2040. This announcement came after Volvo announced that it plans to halt production on all fossil fuel vehicles after 2019, switching their production completely over to hybrid and electric systems.
Nicolas Hulot serves as France's new minister of ecology. He stated that France would no longer allow the sale of fuel or diesel cars by 2040. He called this move a “veritable revolution.” This decision, the ecology minister said, was a matter of public health.
Where does this place France next to the rest of the world? Norway has the most electric cars in the world and plans to ban the sale of all petrol or gasoline cars by 2025. The Netherlands, too, currently has the issue up for discussion, proposing a 2025 ban for diesel and petroleum based cars. Many German states, as well, have suggested a 2030 ban on fossil fuel automobiles.
This announcement followed a claim by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which claimed that we would see electric and hybrid cars climb steadily, comprising as much as 54% of automotive sales by 2040.
Tony Seba, a Stanford University economist, has an even bolder claim. He stated: “Banning sales of diesel and gasoline vehicles by 2040 is a bit like banning sales of horses for road transportation by 2040: there won’t be any to ban.” Seba's optimism, however, may be marred by the reluctance of many governments to replace existing vehicles by 2040.
Added to this is the fact that France draws 80% of its energy from nuclear power stations, meaning that the elimination of cars will drastically reduce the country's carbon emissions.
Will Britain adopt similar measures? Sadiq Khan, London's mayor, stated: “I welcome the strong leadership the French government has shown by making the decision to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
“This radical step shames the timid and insufficient response of our own government to the health threat posed by poor air quality.”
Will France's plans to curb emissions be enough? While 2040 does not seem like a long time, the rate of greenhouse gas emissions continues to rise rapidly.
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