While much has been said about making cars cleaner and more efficient, very little has been said about why people drive so much or for such great distances on such a regular basis. With a severe housing decrease in the foreseeable future—particularly affordable housing in transit-rich areas—those displaced from urban centers have become much more likely to buy a vehicle to get to and from work.You can pass all the feel-good legislation you want. The trick is in obtaining compliance.
This, in turn, has brought a second wave of aggressive legislation that focuses on creating housing near transit, what is called transit-oriented housing, in order to meet a new slew of climate change goals. The state has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. In addition, over the past decade, it created a first-of-its-kind law such as SB 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008.
And those lofty goals for 2030? You can pretty much book it that they will not be met the same way the 2020 goals were. Why? Because the 2020 goals mainly dealt with improvements to the electrical grid and commercial freight transit. The 2030 guidelines deal with the great white whale of California emissions: The private automobile.
The report makes one thing completely clear, and critical, about the state’s very survival: We have to drive less and our lack of progress or inability to curb our individual car driving to date has “put California at risk of not achieving the important public health, equity, economic, mobility, housing, and other benefits that [SB 375 is] expected to deliver.”
Fully ambulatory Californians will have to walk, bike, and use mass transit much more. Much, much more. Climate experts say able-bodied Californians will have to walk by foot four times as much as they do now, and will have to bike nine times as much.Will have to.
In other words, the report is adamant that a reduction in the growth of single-occupancy vehicle travel is essential if we are to achieve an emission level that is 40 percent below those of 1990, by 2030. Tack onto this Gov. Jerry Brown’s new carbon neutrality goal, which the state hopes to achieve by 2045, and the habits of residents who use their car for everything becomes paramount.
This is not just about long, daily commutes to work, the type of trip perceived as “essential,” since 46 percent of all passenger car trips are under 3 miles. And it’s not about gas versus electric vehicles since, according to the report, even if zero-emission car sales increased tenfold, the state would still have to reduce the miles traveled by cars by 25 percent in order to meet the 2030 goal.
Do you propose to set up a guillotine on Rodeo Drive?
Not since 1968 has there been such heat and fury in the streets. Thousands of ‘gilets jaunes’ stormed the capital at the weekend to rage against Emmanuel Macron and his treatment of them with aloof, technocratic disdain. And yet leftists in Britain and the US have been largely silent, or at least antsy, about this people’s revolt. The same people who got so excited about the staid, static Occupy movement a few years ago — which couldn’t even been ar[ou]sed to march, never mind riot — seem struck dumb by the sight of tens of thousands of French people taking to the barricades against Macronism.Californians generally lead a more pampered existence than rural Frenchmen. What is Mr Addison thinking? The French uprising "is a perfect snapshot of the most important divide in 21st-century Europe: that between a blinkered elite and ordinary people who’ve had as much bossing about, tax rises, paternalism and disdain as they can take."
It isn’t hard to see why. It’s because this revolt is as much against their political orthodoxies as it is against Macron’s out-of-touch and monarchical style. Most strikingly this is a people’s rebellion against the onerous consequences of climate-change policy, against the politics of environmentalism and its tendency to punish the little people for daring to live relatively modern, fossil-fuelled lives. This is new. This is unprecedented. We are witnessing perhaps the first mass uprising against eco-elitism and we should welcome it with open arms to the broader populist revolt that has been sweeping Europe for a few years now.
The ‘gilet jaunes’ — or yellow-vests, after the hi-vis vests they wear — are in rebellion against Macron’s hikes in fuel tax. As part of his and the EU’s commitment to cutting carbon emissions, Macron is punishing the drivers of diesel vehicles in particular, raising the tax by 7.6 cents for every litre of diesel fuel. This will badly hit the pockets of those in rural France, who need to drive, and who can’t just hop on buses as deluded Macronists living in one of the fancy arrondissements of Paris have suggested they should. These people on the periphery of French society — truck drivers, provincial plumbers, builders, deliverymen, teachers, parents — have rocked up to the centre of French society in their tens of thousands three times in recent weeks, their message the same every time: ‘Enough is enough. Stop making our lives harder.’
M. Macron, though? Best summarized by Jonathan Miller.
[H]is hubris, arrogance and almost autistic detachment from the French in the street is in a class with Marie Antoinette. Except that this time around, the courtier whispers, ‘Mr President, the people cannot afford diesel.’ To which the cloth-eared Macron has, in effect replied: ‘Let them buy Teslas.’This morning the French government suspended the fuel tax hikes. "Before long, the government will have to decide whether to continue putting the world elites’ conception of environmentalism ahead of the economic interests of French citizens and the interest of national unity." Or recognize that the environmentalists' vision requires force to implement.
Levying taxes on individuals to combat climate change – or for the accomplishment of any social betterment project – is unfailingly undertaken in the name of the sanctity of life. Yet if life is an invaluable state and condition, so too is that of the right of personal property. A life absent the ability to enjoy the products of our toil by utilizing them directly or voluntarily exchanging them with that of others is a life circumscribed, and thus a life forcibly, purposely denigrated in quality.Yes, and the survival of the dirigiste project is at stake.
For more than 100 years, European governments have built their invasive states, with the public sector controlling ever more of life. The promise of combining security and prosperity through state enhancement has failed to achieve its promise. And what does the political class propose? More government power, this time in the name of green energy.What comes next might not be pretty.
At some point, it is too much. Just as the citizens suffering under Soviet rule finally said no more, the people suffering under social-democratic rule might someday do the same. Observers have waited decades to see reforms that might forestall such a thing. Reforms haven’t happened. Now the people are in the streets, setting fires and protesting the police.