France is experimenting with all kinds of ways to reduce pollution from transportation, from paying people to bike to the classics, like creating more bike lanes and pedestrians areas. A new initiative, presented by former presidential candidate Ségolène Royal, who is now Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (long title!), takes the form of an incentive for people to scrap their old diesel vehicles (older than 13 years, meaning that their emissions are quite terrible).
The amount is quite substantial, going up to €10,000 ($11,321.47 at today's exchange rate) if a fully electric vehicle is chosen, or up to €6,500 ($7,358.37) for a plug-in hybrid. These amounts are split between what the call an "environmental bonus" and a "conversion bonus" (loose translation).
To top that off, if a diesel vehicle over 13-years-old is replaced with a vehicle that meets Euro 6 specifications and emits less than 110 gCO2/km, there's an additional €500 incentive for non-taxable households.
Very old diesel vehicles pollute disproportionally to their numbers, so taking them off the streets first makes sense. Most of their materials can be recycled, but the fossil fuel that they burn and the pollution that people breathe in can never be taken back (especially now that the World Health Organization has confirmed that diesel fumes cause lung cancer).
Obviously this is only a small step, but combined with ambitious infrastructure projects like more bike lanes, expansions in bike sharing, transit improvements, pedestrian zones, maybe some congestion pricing and better management of parking spaces, this can make a difference.
Do you think that the U.S. (and other countries) should do a similar thing?