New French law requires car ads to encourage viewers not to drive

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France has taken a unique step to recall cars suck. In December, the country pass a law require the creators of automotive ads to encourage viewers to try not driving a car, at least, whenever possible.

The world is rushing to what practically all scientists (and Adam mckay) warn is a climate catastrophe if the use of fossil fuels is not ended. One of the best ways to do this is to reduce dependence on personal gasoline vehicles. (To say nothing of the reduction of air pollution and other benefits it would increase with less driving.) But how to do that is a bit of a challenge. Indeed, while most people know that driving cars is bad in a wave existential meaning, it is still quite difficult to move away from it, especially when much of our media culture reinforces the idea that cars are cool and safe and good.

French law—spent in december-offers a little behavioral boost. Advertisements must now include a reference to travel alternatives, such as walking or cycling, public transport or, at the very least, carpooling.

Under the new law, advertisements running in the country will be required to include one of the following phrases in their advertising copy: “For short journeys, on foot or by bicycle”, “Consider carpooling” and “Au daily, take transport. ”(In French, of course.) In some cases, advertisements must also display the hashtag # SeDéplacerMoinsPolluer, meaning“ Move without pollution ”.

The legislation, which applies not only to television but also to print, web and radio advertisements, requires that messages be presented in a manner “easily read or audible” and that they be “clearly distinguishable from the message. advertising and any other mandatory mention. Businesses that fail to meet these requirements will face severe fines, in the order of € 50,000 (approximately $ 72,100).

“Decarbonizing transport is not simply switching to an electric motor. It also means using, when possible, public transport or cycling. tweeted Barbara Pompili, Minister of Ecological Transition, whose department is focused on advance alternative energy solutions for the country.

This is extremely true. Transportation is the biggest source of emissions in France (as well as in the United States and many other developed countries for that matter). Personal vehicles are one of the most carbon-intensive modes of travel. Jumping on a train or bus dramatically reduces carbon intensity and overall emissions when walking and cycling eliminate them completely. The transition to carbon-free transit is absolutely vital for the world to have a chance to meet its climate goals.

French law is somewhat equivalent to when the United States the past Comprehensive Smoking Education Act of 1984, which forced tobacco companies to include specific warnings from the Surgeon General on cigarette-induced cancer, emphysema, and pregnancy complications on the sides of all their products. Here, as there, the message is quite simple: don’t hesitate to buy one but you are slowly killing yourself (and the planet)., idiot.

Remind the public to opt for modes of travel that do not involve gasoline personnel vehicles are great. But not everything can depend on individuals for this transition to occur. France – or any other country for that matter – must also do no-carbon means of getting around accessible to all. The country short-haul flights prohibited where rail options are available last year, what a good. But it was also a few years ago that France was confronted with a revolt against gasoline tax it would have screwed up rural people who did not have the infrastructure to get around apart from their own vehicles. Telling people to get on a bicycle is a great first step. Make sure everyone can do it must be next.

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