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Watch Out for Green Class Backlash

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'Yellow Vests' protests in France in 2018.

Planetizen, August 2023

U.S. cities are beginning to consider implementing low-emission zones—areas in cities in which drivers of polluting vehicles pay extra fees or are prohibited from entering—to reduce pollution and accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. To date, Santa Monica and Los Angeles are piloting these zones, and because of their success in European cities, more U.S. cities will be focusing on this policy option. The question is how to implement them equitably. European zones illustrate what happens when equity isn’t front and center in decision-making.  

In a by-election in late June, the widely unpopular British Conservative party narrowly held onto an outer-London seat in Parliament once held by Boris Johnson that they were expected to lose. What saved them was their opposition to London Labour Party Mayor Sadiq Khan’s expansion of Ultra-Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) to cover most of the city. 

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