How many times have you heard some environmental benefit or other described as being the equivalent of taking x number of cars off the road? After you've heard it for the umpteenth time, you start to wonder if that's the real plan: to simply forcibly remove cars off the road. Well, wonderers -- you're right. That is the plan. In Beijing.
As George Bush puts it so well, it's just easier in a dictatorship!
After the Olympics, once the restrictions were lifted, air pollution levels zoomed right back up past dangerous levels, from 26 two weeks ago to 104 last week. The World Health Organization says a level of 50 micrograms per square meter is dangerous.
So Beijing simply put its big, authoritarian foot down.
On Mondays, cars with license-plates ending in 1 and 6: off the road! Tuesday? 2 and 7. Starting October 11, roughly a fifth of the city's cars will be thus forcibly removed from the roads on weekdays.
And as if that's not enough, the government also hiked gas prices 8% , said it will add an entire new New York City-sized subway line each year, will double the cost of...no, scratch that, quintuple the cost of downtown parking and simply prevent anybody at all from registering any new vehicle. Well, not absolutely everybody, just 75% of them. They are benevolent dictators.
To compensate their understandably irate drivers, restricted vehicles will get a break on paying vehicle tax and road maintenance fee for one month a year. Except drivers who breach the rule.
After seeing what we go through decade after decade attempting pass effective climate legislation despite our many differences, I can see the charm of the simple decree.
But, nobody tell Rush Limbaugh. This is exactly his worst fear. Enviro nazis.
For Matter Network