Paris-smogIn an effort to cut “dangerously” poor quality air in Paris, public transport has been made free for three days and cars can only be used on alternate days.  With the WHO calling air pollution a major environmental problem it seems that with the right (or perhaps wrong) set of weather conditions any city can become like Beijing.  Air pollution is caused by industrial processes, burning coal but in most cities in the world the major culprit is of course the toxic fleet of vehicles that poison the air.  

NASA pollution mortality rates

NASA Air Pollution Death Map

Future generations will look upon our present vehicle fleet with astonishment that governments were so recalcitrant in allowing the situation to evolve the way it has become – especially since technology is and has been available to prevent such poor public health outcomes.  More public transport, more bicycles and more electrified vehicles are the answer to this pressing and growing problem of air pollution and the immense strain it puts on health services around the world.

As has been pointed out in MEC on many occasions the reasons for changing to a zero (localised) emissions fleet is becoming more imperative as the sheer number of vehicles in the global fleet continues to increase (see health issues).  Billions of dollars spent on health services, millions of premature deaths are reason enough for a concerted effort to replace our global toxic fleet with clean vehicles.

In Australia there are still no federal incentives to drive clean vehicles unlike just about every other developed country in the world.  Nor is there any coordinated plan for infrastructure roll out to help clean up Australian cities despite the billions of dollars spent on air pollution health costs annually.  Encouraging people to make the switch just makes economic sense as well as having better strategic and environmental outcomes.