Springtime in Paris

An aerial picture taken aboard an helicopter on July 20, 2010 shows a smoggy view of the Eiffel tower (L) and the Tour Maine-Montparnasse in Paris. (BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)

An aerial picture taken aboard an helicopter on July 20, 2010 shows a smoggy view of the Eiffel tower (L) and the Tour Maine-Montparnasse in Paris. (BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)

On March 17th, for the first time in 17 years, the government enforced new rules allowing only motorists driving cars with odd-numbered registration plates to enter the French capital and use the roads in the surrounding departments.  The Economist

The spike in Paris, in which the air quality index rose to 185, would constitute a fairly humdrum day in Beijing and many other Chinese cities. Last month, pollution levels in the Chinese capital were close to the scale’s maximum of 500.

The Parisian smog sparked a debate about the tax breaks for diesel, which have so dramatically influenced the profile of the French car industry. Cheap diesel has been a reality in France for 30 years. This will be a real problem for the French because diesel has now been shown to be seriously carcinogenic. The Guardian

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