EU plan calls for internal combustion engine ban in cities by 2050
In one of the more aggressive and ambitious exercises in sustainability put forth to date, the European Commission has released details of a plan that calls for a complete ban on internal combustion vehicles with major cities by the year 2050. In addition to the measured phase-out of "petrol cars" in these key urban centers, this comprehensive road map for the future entails shifting some 50 percent of all long-distance passenger and freight traffic from roads to rail and/or water venues, having airlines increase their use of low-carbon fuels by 40 percent and having commercial shipping cut its carbon footprint by an equal percentage.
To help facilitate this decidedly Utopian way forward, the plan foresees far more efficient and seamlessly links between all forms of traffic -- road, rail, air and water -- across the entire EU by 2020. The ensuing three decades would be spent upgrading all major airports with supplemental high-speed rail access and making sure that key seaports are linked to rail and inland waterways. Funding for this comprehensive international effort would come from a combination of new "user pays" and "polluter pays" fees. According to the plan's proponents, effectively implementing its core elements would allow the EU to cut overall greenhouse gas emissions 60 percent by mid-century while increasing economic competitiveness, creating more jobs and massively reducing its collective dependence on imported petroleum.