Environmentalists, let’s oppose low emission zones

Low Emission Zones (EPZ), these are the centers of more or less extended metropolises on a global scale. In France, 43 agglomerations are concerned. No later than January 1, 2025, i.e. after two years, diesel produced before 2011 and gasoline before 2006 will not be allowed to enter the country with a fine of 68 euros. This is three-quarters of the cars currently in circulation in France.

How to criticize a measure aimed at limiting air pollution ? even if we misunderstand the concept premature death » — air pollution causes 40,000 premature deaths every year — we understand very well that lung cancer, breast cancer, chronic disease… In short, we need to limit air pollution, therefore traffic-related pollution.

Therefore, the state imposes standards on manufacturers: catalytic converter, particulate filter, etc. Thus, today’s cars pollute the air less than their predecessors, and given the evolution of current standards, together with the strengthening of technical controls, tomorrow’s cars will pollute less than today’s cars. Therefore, the air will be more breathable in the future. The EPZas a result, we only aim to accelerate this dynamic.

State-planned obsolescence

However, the State programs the obsolescence of the newest vehicles. This is a big problem. Let’s remember the obvious: to make a car, you need to extract material, transform it, transport it… We are not talking about nylon stockings here, but an object that is very heavy (and growing… ). it requires a lot of material and energy to produce, not to mention the topic of electric batteries and waste treatment.

As we know, planned obsolescence, reducing the life cycle and scrapping of objects that still fulfill their use, is an ecological aberration because it forces us to produce and consume more. It is for this reason that this technique is prohibited and is subject to criminal sanctions if it is used by manufacturers rather than by the state. With EPZIt is the state that organizes the recovery plan for the automobile sector based on planned obsolescence ? The EPZ In any case, we arrive at a time when the European car industry is doing very badly.

Diesels manufactured before 2011 and gasolines manufactured before 2006 will not be able to move in these areas until 2025 at the latest. Unsplash / Maksym Kaharlitskyi

This perhaps explains why the government has been so proactive on this issue when it has been dragging its feet to introduce simple measures that society demands but don’t get into the productivity game: limiting pesticides, limiting packaging at the source. , advertising, urban sprawl… vehicle weight.

However, isn’t productivity at the root of all environmental problems? ? Now let’s wait for two criticisms. First, one could object that the constraints are binding EPZ does not necessarily mean that the vehicle will be repossessed ; that drivers will now travel by public transport or by bicycle… Apriori, this is not the case: EPZ According to experience, there is no impact on road traffic EPZ already available in Europe.

upgrade” contrasting ” air quality

The second objection is the most obvious: Yes, but EPZworks, the air is less polluted. » So let’s face it, we’re morally inclined to increase the pollution we’re importing from the construction of our cars, while reducing our own health. If we all drive clean »air pollution won’t improve, and it won’t improve dramatically ? Common sense would tell us that this is obvious.

But the effect is visible EPZ not so clear: Various studies show this […] improving urban air quality is mixed »reads an article written by two experts in the field in a specialized journal [1].

Social injustice

The impact of its construction alone is undeniable EPZ, therefore, the renewal of the car park is accelerated. Who are limited consumers? ? A priori, all but some citizens are more equal than others in the face of economic constraint ! And those who still have an old car are often… unable to afford to replace it. ! a study about EPZ Representatives of the Grenoble conurbation concluded that the introduction of the system had differential effects according to socio-professional categories, as those with the lowest incomes had proportionally more cars affected by the ban.

A senior manager who has the opportunity to live in the center, three metro stations from his work, sees only the beneficial effects. EPZ, to him. He can take himself SUV Crit’Air 2, weekend time to go green…

Yes to limited parking spaces, yes to more public transport options, yes to car-restricting and cycling-promoting developments, yes to urban rental housing for all, yes to car loans, car-sharing… Yes, a ban on cars ! But let’s stop playing the auto industry’s game on the backs of those already disadvantaged by rising fuel prices and starting to pollute for pleasure, it’s worth repeating.

Let’s defend popular ecology, away from those who hurt the yellow vests. Let’s be green, let’s demand a moratorium EPZ !

This column was originally published by the newspaper Age to do.

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