PARIS ON POLLUTION ALERT AS COLD SPELL TRAPS DIESEL FUMES
Last Thursday, Paris was put on an air pollution alert as the city's worst smog levels since 2007 were recorded. According to Airparif, an organization that monitors the air quality in Paris, the pollution index reached the highest of five levels for fine particulates, causing the government to ask people to refrain from using wood fireplaces and driving diesel vehicles that lack proper filters. As the severe smog was brought on by a cold spell that trapped diesel fumes in the atmosphere, the pollution alert may reopen the debate over taxes on diesel fuel. According to Deputy Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, “irresponsible policies” that encourage the use of diesel are to blame for the rise in pollution. Hidalgo said that the tax policy of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government favored diesel, which is taxed at a lower rate than gasoline. She contended that, “as a result, today, 70 percent of French vehicles are diesel.” For the full story, see http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-12/paris-put-on-air-pollution-alert-as-cold-snap-traps-diesel-fumes.html and http://www.english.rfi.fr/environment/20131212-paris-air-pollution.