Monday, March 23, 2015

Paris Will Dramatically Reduce Car Traffic to Fight Air Pollution Emergency

This file picture dated March 11, 2014 shows the Eiffel tower and Paris' roofs through a haze of pollution. Paris is experiencing a periodic pollution spike on March 18, 2015. (Credit: © Patrick Kovarik, AFP) Click to Enlarge.
The mayor of Paris, City of Lights, announced Saturday that starting Monday morning, the number of cars permitted to drive in the city would be reduced by half in an effort to fight a “pollution emergency.”

Cars with plates ending in odd numbers, hybrid or electric vehicles, cars with more than three passengers, and public transportation — now free in the city and surrounding towns — would be the only ways to move around in Paris.  Electric vehicle and bicycle sharing programs would also cost nothing while the ban stayed in place.

The pollution began to spike on Wednesday, and Paris saw its air quality become the worst in the world for a time according to Plume Labs, surpassing even China and India’s heavily-polluted cities.  Plume Labs categorized Paris’ air pollution levels as near “critical” on Wednesday and again on Saturday, which means that the impacts will be rapidly felt and concerning to all.

A similar pollution emergency last March caused the French capital to make all public transportation free.

The Eiffel Tower, where technicians recently installed vertical axis wind turbines to power the commercial areas of its first floor, was not visible to many Parisians last week.
In December of this year, Paris will play host to the critical U.N. climate summit, which many hope will commit the world to reining in carbon pollution, of which burning fossil fuel is the main source.  Last October the EU committed to cutting emissions 40 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels.

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