France waving flag on bad day

France to End Fossil Fueled Cars By 2040 – I Bet My Hoverboard They Won’t

It’s 2017.

According to the 1989 classic, Back to the Future II, we should have flying cars by now – or at least hoverboards. And don’t forget power laces, which should be equipped on every pair of Nikes.

To borrow from another sci-fi classic, Star Trek, we should be emerging from the Eugenics Wars of the 1990s, and working closer toward speed of light travel.

According to a 2007 NBC News Report, we should all have an implant with health, financial, and identifying information stored conveniently under our skin.

Of course, pondering the future can be humorous or invoke a sense of wonder. What is important to remember, however, is that we have no idea what the future can bring. One should confront the prospect of the future with humility at how little we control events. We simply lack the foresight to see over the horizon and project what is going to happen. Humans aren’t predictable machines, and forces that drive history do not fit into some unified theory of everything.

France, of course, has never had a problem relying on the ultimate wisdom of humanity. The French have a long history of crafting policy on nothing more than good intentions and well wishes, dating back as far as the French Revolution. Bless their hearts, no amount of blood-soaked guillotines will ever change their minds.

So it’s no surprise that France announced this week that the country will completely eliminate fossil fuels by 2040. 

“We are announcing an end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040,” [Ecology Minister Nicolas] Hulot said, calling it a “veritable revolution”. 

That’s an awfully impressive goal. How will they achieve it? Well, those details haven’t really been hashed out yet.

Cyrille Cormier of Greenpeace France, a supporter of the measure but critic of the lack of concrete measures, admitted, “We still do not know how we will achieve these objectives and respect these ambitious promises.”

Minister Hulot gave only two hints on how France would meet the 2040 goal. First, by simply prohibiting French automakers from manufacturing gasoline or diesel vehicles by 2040.

(Such quick-fix measures are always a favorite of the Left. Do people not have health insurance? Simply pass a law requiring everyone to buy it! Are workers getting paid too little? Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour!)

Hulot acknowledged that reaching the goal would be “tough”, particularly for automakers, but said that French carmakers Peugeot-Citroen and Renault were well equipped to make the switch.”

That’s easily said by a government minister in 2017 and not, say, the CEO of Renault in 2036. Moreover, with the unexpected fracking boom consumers in America and Europe still overwhelmingly prefer vehicles that run on gasoline or diesel.

Motorists still continue to opt overwhelmingly for petrol and diesel models, usually substantially cheaper. In 2016, hybrid and electric cars accounted for only 3.6 percent of new cars registered in Western Europe, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA),” the Yahoo report says.

The only other measure Hulot indicated may help achieve the 2040 goal is to pay low-income households for their old fossil fuel vehicles, and require them to buy a new and improved electric one. This would essentially amount to a French version of Obama’s Cash for Clunkers program, which was notable for hurting both the environment and the economy at the same time

The fact of the matter is that this announcement, like much of the rhetoric we hear from the environmental left in America and Europe, is simply an empty gesture. It’s a promise based on the Paris Climate Accord, which was yet another toothless measure. Such grand announcements are more about virtue signaling to the rest of the world rather than crafting serious policy.

If France and other countries manage to find a viable alternative to fossil fuel automobiles by 2040, then good for them. But I’m willing to bet they won’t.

I’ll wager my jet pack to your hover boots. We should have both by 2040.

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Andy Crawford

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