Climate change is real, and it’s happening fast. A recent report from the UN gives us humans just 12 years to limit climate catastrophe.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released this study last October, and as The Guardian noted:
The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5°C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
In light of that warning, the city of Amsterdam is taking action to address air pollution. Cars and motorbikes that run on gas or diesel will be banned beginning in 2030 — and, as of 2020, diesel cars older than 15 years will be banned from going inside the A10 ring road that encircles the Dutch capital.
Furthermore, public buses that emit exhaust fumes will be prohibited from entering the city center beginning in 2022, and by 2025, this ban will include pleasure crafts and mopeds.
Amsterdam’s Clean Air Action Plan instead intends to replace all those gas and diesel engines with emissions-free alternatives, such as hydrogen and electric cars, by 2030.
To ensure this transition, the city will have to install between 16,000 and 23,000 charging stations — a big jump from the 3,000 currently in Amsterdam.
“Pollution often is a silent killer and is one of the greatest health hazards in Amsterdam,” said Sharon Dijksma, the councillor responsible for the city’s traffic.
This is especially true for the Netherlands, where heavy traffic in the cities of Amsterdam, Maastricht and Rotterdam means that air pollution in the country is worse than European rules allow.
Other European Cities Are Taking Action
Last year, Madrid prohibited gas-fueled vehicles made before 2000 from entering its city center, along with diesel-fueled vehicles made before 2006. Rome will ban diesel vehicles beginning in 2024, and the Danish government has pledged to ban all gas and diesel cars beginning in 2030, as well as all hybrid vehicles by 2035.
In the U.K., Edinburgh is conducting a trial program that bans all vehicles from its historic Old Town between noon and 5:00 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month. Meanwhile, in London an ultra-low emission zone was introduced last month in the center of the city, with the aim of reducing emissions from diesel-powered vehicles.
What About the U.S.?
In spite of Trump’s staunch refusal to accept the truth of climate change, a survey published last January found that a record 73 percent of Americans believe in climate change. That’s a 10 percent jump from 2015.
The survey, conducted by Yale University, also found that 72 percent of those polled felt that global warming is probably caused by humans and that it could pose a personal risk to their lives.
Even so, Trump continues to pursue policies that pollute and damage our environment.
If you are one of those people who recognize that climate change is of urgent concern, you can take action by signing my petition. Demand that Trump withdraw a dangerous proposal to bring fracking to over a million acres of land in California.
We know that there are so many health and environmental risks linked to fracking: the possibility of earthquakes, the contamination of drinking water and the release of toxic chemicals into the air, to name a few. The time to act is now.
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