France, Britain show how to solve air problems

Analysis (Rooters agency) – Environmentalists and air breathers around the world have enthusiastically welcomed the decisions by the French and British governments to ban the production and sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040.

“This is wonderful,” said an air consumer in Paris. “Even if I can’t manage to hold my breath for 23 years, it will be a great benefit for my children and grandchildren, should they live that long.”

“It’s a great victory for the planet,” declared an environmental NGO official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The year 2040 may seem like a long time off to some, but even in a worst case scenario, by then we don’t expect enough carbon dioxide to have been emitted to raise ocean levels much more than a meter.

“And maybe, when other countries in 2040 see how well this has worked, they will adopt their own 23-year legislation.”

Several historians – who also requested anonymity – said that the long-term plan for dealing with automotive pollution was quite in keeping with tradition.

“Dealing with serious challenges has always taken considerable time,” said X, a Professor of Optimism at a university we cannot name, “For instance, when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, did the governments of France and Britain immediately go to war? Of course not. They realized this was a long-term problem that needed to be treated seriously and carefully, and they therefore developed the project for strengthening the Maginot Line.

“Once the Maginot strengthening project had been approved by the two legislatures, and consultations between the two countries had reconciled the differences, the ‘Twenty-Year Plan for Liberating Poland and Other Places by 1963, More or Less’ was approved.”

Professor X noted that development of the British-French plan was very nearly disrupted by events in the United States in late 1941, when rumors swept the country about a Japanese attack. “Fortunately, the US President countered the threat by making a nationwide radio broadcast in he which he declared, ‘The so-called Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor? It’s all fake news.’” (Pearl Harbor was a US naval base in Hawaii, at that time a US possession.)

The lesson is clear, agreed Professor Y, a consultant for a business association that requested anonymity. “We shouldn’t let ourselves be panicked. We should deal with climate change and other air pollution problems with the same measured response used in previous emergencies.”