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UK Bans All New Petrol and Diesel Cars by 2040
By Andy Rowell
The UK has followed France in banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, as part of its plan to tackle chronic air pollution in cities. The government has been coming under intense pressure to act, with an estimated 40,000 people dying prematurely a year from air pollution.
A government spokesman told the press, "Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and this government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible.
"That is why we are providing councils with new funding to accelerate development of local plans, as part of an ambitious £3bn [$3.9 billion] program to clean up dirty air around our roads."
But critics have said the ban is already "too little too late," with many highly critical of the proposals.
"Air pollution is poisoning our children and leading to causing avoidable deaths across the country," said Jenny Randerson, opposition Liberal Democrat shadow transport secretary. "Instead of properly fighting this silent killer, the government has flip-flopped, offering tax breaks for cars that they are now banning. The government's feeble attempts to tackle air pollution are too little too late.
"The Liberal Democrats have called for all new diesel sales to end by 2025 and a scrappage scheme to help drivers convert to greener vehicles. We are serious about fighting air pollution, this government is not."
Former Labour leader Ed Milliband tweeted this morning, "Fear that new car petrol/diesel ban in 23 years time is smokescreen for weak measures to tackle 40,000 deaths a year from air pollution now."
Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas also tweeted, "Welcome start but need urgent plan to cut air pollution *now*—proper clean air zones, funded diesel scrappage, invest in public transport."
Areeba Hamid, the clean air campaigner at Greenpeace, added, "The high court was clear that the government must bring down toxic air pollution in the UK in the shortest possible time. This plan is still miles away from that."
The Government plan will be released on Wednesday after it was forced in the courts to release its clean air strategy after months of legal in-fighting. A judge had ruled that the government's original plans were so bad as to be unlawful.
"A clear policy to move people towards cleaner vehicles by banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans after 2040 is welcome, as is more funding for local authorities," said James Thornton from ClientEarth, the campaign group that has pursued the government through the courts over air quality.
"However, the law says ministers must bring down illegal levels of air pollution as soon as possible, so any measures announced in this plan must be focused on doing that."
But as I recently blogged, many experts believe that the internal combustion engine will not exist by 2040.
David Bailey, an industry expert, told the BBC this morning exactly the same thing: "This sets a very clear direction of travel, but petrol and diesel cars won't exist by 2040."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dan Gray
- Research shows that 16 weeks of a vegan diet can boost the gut microbiome, helping with weight loss and overall health.
- A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome. A plant-based diet is the best way to achieve this.
- It isn't necessary to opt for a strictly vegan diet, but it's beneficial to limit meat intake.
New research shows that following a vegan diet for about 4 months can boost your gut microbiome. In turn, that can lead to improvements in body weight and blood sugar management.
By Jeff Turrentine
Nearly 20 years have passed since the journalist Malcolm Gladwell popularized the term tipping point, in his best-selling book of the same name. The phrase denotes the moment that a certain idea, behavior, or practice catches on exponentially and gains widespread currency throughout a culture. Having transcended its roots in sociological theory, the tipping point is now part of our everyday vernacular. We use it in scientific contexts to describe, for instance, the climatological point of no return that we'll hit if we allow average global temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. But we also use it to describe everything from resistance movements to the disenchantment of hockey fans when their team is on a losing streak.
By Mark Mancini
On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.
By Alex Schwartz
Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.
I’m a Psychotherapist – Here’s What I’ve Learned From Listening to Children Talk About Climate Change
By Caroline Hickman
Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?