Enrique Dans
Published in

Enrique Dans

Spain’s Balearic Islands’ diesel ban is a step in the right direction

The regional government of Spain’s Balearics Islands says it will prohibit the entry of diesel cars to the archipelago as of 2025 and gasoline in 2035, an improvement on the rest of the country and other European nations, which will only begin this transition decades later, by which time there will be little environment left worth protecting.

Carmakers have already protested to the European Commission, to find that Brussels supports decarbonization measures unequivocally. In addition to the hypocrisy of car manufacturers, who have taken on the tobacco companies mantle, some political parties in Spain and affiliated media (link in Spanish) have criticized the measure, using false and simplistic arguments, saying “the prohibition could make the problem worse” due to the islands’ energy generation mix of the islands, with 40% of energy produced by coal, 10.5% diesel, 12.6% from gas and 9.8% from combined cycle power plants; less than 5% comes from renewable sources.

The idea that eliminating internal combustion engines could in some way make the situation worse is a lie, a disgusting, biased and partisan falsehood. The simple truth is that evert electric vehicle that joins the car pool improves things, regardless of the source of the electricity. Repeating the same lie over and again doesn’t make it true: there is nothing more damaging than burning fossil fuels to power a car. Transferring that combustion to a power plant, whatever the type, is more efficient and therefore is less polluting. Obviously, it would be better if that combustion never took place and that the energy was generated in a completely clean way, but arguments along the lines of “coal-produced electricity only moves the problem from one place to another or is worse” is a fallacy, a lie. The long tail pipe theory has long been discredited.

We have to start combatting climate change somewhere, and we have to start now. Arguments such as modern engines pollute less, we have not solved the battery problem, electric vehicles pollute more or start with power plants and not cars are simplifications, fallacies hiding the interests of those who are prepared to destroy the planet for profit.

The regional government of the Balearics has come up with a plan that starts somewhere and sends a clear signal to the public about the future. The plan includes the progressive prohibition of internal combustion vehicles as well as a transition to provide the island with an energy generation mix based on renewables, and even takes into account the needs of car hire firms. It is a realistic, sensible and meaningful plan and one that would benefit from being introduced sooner.

Meanwhile, we need to take a long, hard look at the car industry and its representatives, as well as their refusal to stop making internal combustion engines, along with the role of oil companies, whose behavior will see as criminal in the future.

Congratulations to the Balearics for a courageous and necessary measure, for taking a step against the pressure of the oil industry and carmakers’ lobbies. Bringing the proposed restrictions forward would be better. Let’s see if other regions in Spain and Europe follow its lead or move further forward, and at last we really began to understand that these kinds of measures are not simply desirable or prudent, but URGENT.

(En español, aquí)

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