A new pay-to-pollute measure is being seamlessly imposed on drivers in Rome and Milan.
The mandate is part of the carbon tax initiatives which are at the heart of the new pseudo-environmentalist policies.
If there is one aspect that all out of control governments have in common is their incapacity to prepare and to prevent. Instead, they wait for disaster to hit and then react to a crisis.
In the process of reacting, governments usually grab more power from the citizenry, impose more limitations to people’s rights and small businesses and, of course, increase taxes. It is a win, win, win situation.
Most of the time, the reactive nature with which bureaucrats face a crisis stems from their incapacity to govern, but in recent years, the decision not to act in preventive ways has a lot to do with gaining more power and control.
One of the areas where governments have attempted to get more power is in issues related to the environment. Most of the mandates, laws and power grabs that bureaucracies have promoted in the last two decades have been justified with the idea that the climate is out of control, and that the bureaucrats have the solutions to put the genie back into the bottle.
Unfortunately, what many people see as good intentions to solve dire environmental problems, has become nothing else than reactive climate insanity.
It is not easy to imagine how far this climate insanity will go. Every new occurrence to ban one thing or another simply breaks all expectations.
Earlier this month, Italy, more precisely the city of Milan imposed a ban on cars due to high levels of air pollution, as if taking cars off the street for a few weeks would deal with the core of the contamination problem.
The same people who failed to prevent air pollution for decades, now find it fine and dandy to impose a ban on cars, which directly affects an already decaying economy.
Italian authorities have also taken action against the traditional wooden pizza ovens to reduce the high levels of pollution in large cities.
The mayor of the town of San Vitalino, on the outskirts of Naples, has decided to ban these furnaces. According to municipal regulations, furnaces should have special filters for pollution in order to operate.
The recently adopted wooden oven ban adds up to the Milan authorities decision to stop all traffic from cars and motorcycles for six hours a day. The ban takes place from Monday to Wednesday in a supposed attempt to reduce the high levels of air pollution. Meanwhile, in Rome, people cannot drive vehicles with odd registration numbers for a period of nine hours a day.
New pay-to-pollute measures are carbon taxes on driving
Little or no wind, a dry environment and lack of rain has prevented air pollution from dispersing, so municipal authorities in Rome and Milan have adopted these restrictive measures, which do not affect vehicles that pollute less, such as hybrids.
So you see, authorities are not really concerned with pollution as much as they say they are. If winds were blowing the smog away, they would have not banned driving or riding motorcycles.
They are only doing it to hide the fact that they have not been doing their job to keep a clean environment. Instead, the bureaucrats have adopted reactive measures to mask their incompetence and lack of care for the environment, which they claim to want to protect.
The authorities in Milan, a city that has been under a cloud of pollution for several days, have launched a program which charges 1.5 euros per ticket purchased by motorists. The ticket allows drivers to move freely around the city.
The move is nothing else than a step towards taxing drivers as a condition to being able to circulate in the city. This is the same principle behind similar programs such as taxing drivers by the mile and imposing carbon taxes on the population. With these plans, authorities seek to discourage driving altogether and limit freedom of movement.
Those seemingly voluntary measures are reinforced with threats against those who ‘violate’ the new rules. Motorists who do not pay to drive risk heavy fines.
The mayor of Milan, Giuliano Pisapia, announced the new restrictions last week and urged all cities to introduce the same measures. “In these days of emergency we can not remain impassive” he said.
In 2012, Italy was the European country with the largest number of pollution-related, deaths, 84,000, according to the European Environment Agency. In 2008 Milan was chosen as the most polluted city in Europe. Both Milan and Rome have repeatedly introduced traffic restrictions since 2007.
A simple accounting of the pollution vs. reactive policies timeline confirms that both Rome and Milan waited until the contamination problem was unbearable to launch a desperate attack on driving, as supposed to having faced the challenge before it actually became an air pollution crisis.
Last week, Beijing, another city that is plagued with air pollution also declared a red alert. It is the second time so far this month, and cars can only run on alternate days depending on their registration. Despite the ban, Chinese authorities themselves acknowledge that up to 112,800 vehicles breached the rules.