Zero Emissions Movement Picking Up Speed In Other Countries

Bill Gate says, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.” The movement toward zero emissions won’t be successful for 50 years or more according to some people. But it seems the pace of change is accelerating faster than anticipated.

zero emissions cars in Norway
Zero emissions cars gather in Norway

At the end of last week, the four major political parties in Norway arrived at a tentative agreement that would eliminate the sale of fossil fueled automobiles by the year 2025. The news media reported the agreement as an accomplished fact, but actually, it is still awaiting approval by the government. More talks are scheduled as early as Monday.

Norway is one of Tesla Motors’ prime markets, thanks to powerful incentives that country has put in place to convince people to buy EVs. Not only are they exempt from the steep taxes others pay when they buy a new car, they are also eligible for a host of special other benefits. EV drivers in Norway are entitled to use commuter vehicle lanes. They enjoy preferential parking in urban areas and often have access to free charging. They also do not have to pay tolls on Norway’s many ferries, bridges, and tunnels.

Elon Musk was so excited by the news reports from Norway that he took to Twitter to laud the people of Norway and their government.

Musk may have jumped the gun a bit on Norway, but that country is serious about reducing its carbon footprint in accordance with the COP21 climate accords announced in Paris last December. Other countries are not far behind. Political leaders in the Netherlands are also proposing a ban on fossil fuel cars by 2025. India also is considering a requirement that all new cars be electric by 2030.

The mystery is why Canada and the US are lagging so far behind the rest of the world. A proposal by the province of Quebec to require 15.5% of all cars by powered by electricity by 2025 is receiving tremendous resistance from car companies and business leaders. Opponents are warning residents that the plan will drastically increase the cost of heating their homes in winter.

In the US, an equally modest proposal to add a $10 per barrel carbon fee to the price of oil was greeted with derision by congressional leaders, most of whom are nothing more than paid political hacks spouting the lines fed to them by the fossil fuel industry.

There are two schools of thought on climate change. One says the process is accelerating and must be dealt with aggressively. The other says there is nothing to worry about and things can go along as they are indefinitely. If there is a problem, human ingenuity will magically devise a way to deal with it at the last minute.

Magic realism is a common technique used in fiction, but as a political device, it has proven unsuccessful. Magic realism gave us the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has helped create the ISIS phenomenon. If you prefer political leaders who are reality based, be sure to keep that in mind when choosing who to vote for in the election this November.

Thanks to Leif Hansen for helping us understand the political situation in Norway.

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.