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France, along with the U.K., made headlines earlier this summer by announcing plans to phase out sales of gasoline- and diesel-engined cars by 2040, but it appears the city of Paris has an even earlier target in mind. The City of Lights plans to bring about a gradual phaseout of combustion-engine cars by the year 2030, avoiding calling it a “ban” but echoing steps already taken by the city government to reduce air pollution in the city, Reuters reports.
“This is about planning for the long term with a strategy that will reduce greenhouse gases,” said Christophe Najdovski, head of transport policy in the administration of mayor Anne Hidalgo.
“Transport is one of the main greenhouse gas producers … so we are planning an exit from combustion engine vehicles, or fossil-energy vehicles, by 2030,” Najdovski told France Info Radio, according to Reuters.
When it comes to efforts to reduce pollution within city limits, Paris is already known for introducing a ban on cars older than 20 years in the city during weekdays, a measure which drew some criticism for effectively discriminating against those who cannot afford newer cars. The city is also surging ahead with plans for a ban on diesel vehicles ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics, an event expected to generate more climate agreements on a state and city level. Paris has also instituted temporary car bans inside the city in response to pollutant levels in the area, causing some irritation from city dwellers who have to commute by car.
The city’s planned steps to phase out gasoline- and diesel-engined cars reflect a growing trend among large cities to take action on environmental issues apart from their countries’ governments. Paris is already part of a group of cities that includes Madrid, Mexico City and Athens that plan to end the use of diesel-engined cars by 2025, collectively representing metropolises that are home to 42 million people. Large cities are now viewed by those engaged in climate policy as far more effective government entities than federal governments when it comes to testing and enforcing pollution regulations.
Plans to phase out internal combustion vehicles by foreign cities and countries have recently prompted calls for similar action in the U.S.; California governor Jerry Brown has called for the state to phase out sales of gas- and diesel-engined cars before the 2040 targets announced by France and the U.K., citing China’s commitment to bring about the same ban far sooner.