Sunday, 16 March 2014

Just Another Manic Monday

On Monday morning, trucks will drive on the right and cars on the left. No sorry, on monday morning, if your car's number plate ends on an even number you can drive in the morning, and if it ends with an odd number, you can drive on the evening. No, sorry... oh well, I shouldn't really care I drive a Prius plug-in so I'm exempt - they say. The pollution peak in my city is so alarming the government is taking strong measures, as you can see. Science Fiction? Xingtai? Paris.

Unseasonably warm (yes!) windless weather lets vicious small particles hang around int the air, attacking passerbys. Lovely spring days, but we're advised to keep children at home and avoid public parks. French authorities finally have an opportunity to show us how good they are at doing stuff, and public transport is free and now you can only drive if you car has won the lottery.

The sad/funny part is that the same authorities have been continuously favoring diesel car production, where our French automaker have a "lead on the market" - they could have developed hybrids instead, but, oh, no, the hybrid solution isn't really one, you see - it doesn't solve the problem completely. We need to seek a more structural, systemic solution. One that will stick, not any half-assed, halfway measure.,In the meantimes, those diesel cars sell like hotcakes because gas is taxed far more than gazole and why the hell not? No one else is making so many diesel models - we're protecting our industry. What diesel is the worst for pushing particles in the air? Balderdash! Environmental lobbying.

Meanwhile, as I drive around Paris with zero combustion (my plug-in hybrid is autonomous for going somewhere and back for most city-trips), I can't feel but wonder why all cars aren't doing the same - it's not like mine was more expensive than most cars I see around? Where did we go wrong? Well, we French are very clever, but rarely serious:

  • Incentives - rather than create pollution free zones or implement tough environmental levels for cars, we prefer last minute cobbled together alternate driving nonsense (which drives every one crazy) and that offers zero incentive to get a cleaner car, since administrative, arbitrary chaos will hit you anyhow.
  • Hyper-solutions: rather than solve practical problems one by one and feel self-confident enough that by chipping at the mountain you'll eventually turn it into manageable chunks, we continue to seek total solutions, systemic solutions, systematic solutions that solve the problem in its entirety but that remain forever out of reach - so why bother to do anything? 
The thing about any systemic problem is that there never is one solution, but if you try an addition of small varied steps, you'll find that some unlock the system, even though you never quite know which ones up front. Try and see, try and see.

So, tomorrow morning, only light cars will be on the road - darker colors absorb too much heat. But trucks will be exempt -after all, we've got to eat haven't we. Except foreign trucks of course. Or is it the other way around? Keep on being clever guys, it really works - every new decision makes improvement harder to reach and makes you even more unpopular, but why should you let that stop you?

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