Petrol and Diesel Ban Hypocrites Praise French and Bash British

The UK government’s ban on petrol and diesel car sales from 2040 caused many to jump on the electric-powered outrage bus this week. Let’s start with London mayor Sadiq Khan, who instantly panned the policy as soon as it was announced:

“A half-hearted commitment from Government simply isn’t good enough… The commitment to phase out sales of new diesel cars is welcome, but Londoners suffering right now simply can’t afford to wait until 2040.”

He’s changed his tune. Khan lavished praised on the French government when it instituted the same policy earlier this month:
“I welcome the strong leadership the French government has shown by making the decision to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040. This radical step shames the timid and insufficient response of our own government to the health threat posed by poor air quality.”
Shameless from Sadiq.

Meanwhile, environmental lawyers ClientEarth called the UK government’s move a “diversionary tactic”:
“The 2040 diesel and petrol ban, while important is a diversionary tactic and doesn’t deal with the public health emergency caused by illegally polluted air, now.”
Hmm. Doesn’t quite tally with the views of ClientEarth CEO James Thornton, who – like Khan – warmly embraced the French government when it enacted the very same policy:
“This is a huge statement of intent from the French government and an example of how we’re likely to see exponential change in the coming years as governments grapple with the necessary changes we have to make for air quality and our climate… These moves should be heeded by other governments and industry, who need to act to protect us from air pollution in our towns and cities and help mitigate climate change.”  

It’s brilliant when the French do it, a “diversion” when the British do it…

The most egregious example comes from Greenpeace. The environmentalist ultras condemned the UK government’s ban as “headline-grabbing” and “redundant“, saying:
“5 things the government doesn’t want you to know about their headline-grabbing petrol and diesel ban… It could be far too late — and end up redundant…” 
But when the French instituted the same ban, Greenpeace criticised the UK government for “stalling” and not introducing it sooner:
“The move away from fossil fuel powered cars towards electric is inevitable, and picking up speed fast. First Volvo, now France, yet the UK government is still stalling.”
Plus ça change…

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