I know, the sniping at Jalopnik is getting old, and I’m sure this article will receive a lot of complaints. But this is The Truth About Cars, and the truth must be told. Banking on the limited attention span of its readers, Gawker’s outlet for things remotely related to cars headlined yesterday: “European Union wants to ban gas, diesel cars by 2050.” A headline like that is sure to produce clicks. Too bad, clicking readers are being had.
Just for this occasion, we break the TTAC rule of not copypasting whole articles. Here is the Jalopnik article in full length:
“The European Union’s transport chief wants to ban diesel or gas-burning vehicles in cities by 2050, mainly through higher taxes and new rules. Maybe now’s the time to start broadening those U.S. import rules…”
That’s it. No more. Where’s the beef the Jalopies have with the brutal transport chief?
The site that just a few days ago did pride itself of its investigative journalism skills, not only fornicated the puppy on this one, it also missed out on the juicy stuff.
Fornicating the puppy dept.:
- Of course the EU does not want to ban gas and diesel cars by 2050. That becomes clear to the intrepid few who venture beyond the headline. Someone may want to discourage ICE city driving 40 years from now. Manhattanite Gawkers should have noticed that their hometown had declared a war on cars decades ago.
- Jalopnik became the victim of a badly written article in London’s Telegraph that talks in tortured grammar about a plan of “Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission.” Mr. Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Transport (that’s his correct title) and former Prime Minister of Estonia, published a white paper with the boring title “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system.” If you want the original, here it is.
- Mr. Kallas does not and cannot ban anything. He wrote a white paper. He might as well have written an op ed piece in the New York Times. He has his job until 2014. It is a long and arduous road before anything becomes unanimously accepted by all 27 members of the EU. In the meantime, a commissioner can write all the white papers he wants.
- The white paper does not talk about a ban. It says that “the gradual phasing out of ‘conventionally-fuelled’ vehicles from the urban environment is a major contribution to significant reduction of oil dependence, greenhouse gas emissions and local air and noise pollution.” But there is a gotcha in the next sentence.” It will have to be complemented by the development of appropriate fuelling/charging infrastructure for new vehicles.” It’s more fluff than Obama’s plan to put a million EV’s on the road by 2015.
- There is nothing in the white paper that calls for a ban of diesel or gas-burning vehicles in cities by 2050 through higher taxes and new rules. There is a mealy-mouthed passage that calls for “developing and deploying new and sustainable fuels and propulsion systems” in order to “halve the use of ‘conventionally-fuelled’ cars in urban transport by 2030; phase them out in cities by 2050; achieve essentially CO2-free city logistics in major urban centres by 2030.” Again: If there are no new and sustainable fuels and propulsion systems, no change. The white paper might as well have called for eternal happiness, the elimination of heart attacks and a worldwide ban of the common cold. Actually, the paper has an even nobler goal: “By 2050, move close to zero fatalities in road transport.”
Missing out on the juicy stuff dept:
We must wag a finger at Jalopnik for neglecting its usual mission of wallowing in juicy scandals. Justin Hyde must have been in an awful hurry when he cranked out the two sentences. Now, TTAC has to do the heavy lifting.
- Hugh Bladon, a spokesman for the Association of British Drivers recommended that Commissioner Kallas “goes and finds himself a space in the local mental asylum. If he wants to bring everywhere to a grinding halt and to plunge us into a new dark age, he is on the right track. We have to keep things moving. The man is off his rocker.”
- Christopher Monckton, spokesman of the anti-EU UK Independence Party opines that “the EU must be living in an alternate reality.”
- UK Transport Minister Norman Baker said “We will not be banning cars from city centres anymore than we will be having rectangular bananas.” With that vote against, the measure is dead.
- Environmentalists blast the paper. Franziska Achterberg of Greenpeace says: “This Commission paper blatantly passes the buck to the next generation.” Jos Dings of the Transport&Environment group says: “This is a manifesto for inaction. The only concrete action the Commission proposes within its current mandate (2010-14) is to expand airport capacity, which will make the headline targets even harder to reach.”
- Commenters at Jalopnik immediately created a European flag with tiny hammers and sickles. Jalopnik was derelict in its duty of informing its readership that Mr. Kallas was formerly a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and a member of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. He should be comfortable as a Commissar.
- Totally overlooked by Jalopnik: Baden-Württemberg, that German state that Porsche, Daimler, Bosch and Gemballa Tuning call home, will be the first German state to be ruled by a Premier of the Green Party. They won by a landslide last weekend. Now that is a story worth watching.
Jeez, must we do all your work?