The French government this week moved to turn their stated goal of making the country carbon-neutral by 2050 into law, in a move that will uphold a planned ban on the sale of fossil fuel-powered cars after 2040.
“We have target for carbon neutrality by 2050, and we need a credible trajectory towards that, which includes a ban on the sale of vehicles that consume fossil fuels by 2040,” French Transport Minister, Elizabeth Borne, said on Tuesday. She believes the move will help the French auto industry switch to electric or hydrogen-electric vehicles. “Since the start of Emmanuel Macron’s term, our target is the climate plan that Nicolas Hulot announced in the summer of 2017. We will now inscribe this target into law.”
The new “electric mobility law” also includes clauses to help facilitate the rollout of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, notably by giving the residents of apartment buildings the right to ask for the installation of EV plugs in communal parking lots. The new law would also give companies the option to offer employees a tax-free, 400 Euro subsidy to re-train in “sustainable” transportation industries like bicycle repair.
Implementation of the new law is currently being debated in France’s Parliament, where its opposition by the “yellow vest” movement– which is protesting carbon taxes on fuel and what it sees as the forced moves towards new vehicles adding to the already high cost of Parisian living– isn’t being ignored. It’s hard to say, however, whether the short-term cost of moving France from diesels to EVs within a generation will be seen as a long-term savings be the general populace. That’s not to say the idea is unique to France, though. Other European countries like Norway, the Netherlands, and Germany are considering similar bans on gasoline and diesel cars.
What do you guys think? Is France’s upcoming internal-combustion ban the way forward for progressive countries fighting climate change, or is the forced change just going to illicit a knee-jerk response in the opposite direction? Let us know what you think we’ll all be driving around Paris in by 2040 in the comments section at the bottom of the page.