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Anne Hidalgo at a climate summit for women in 2016. Wikipedia
Paris

‘Green’ mayor of Paris takes Falcon to promote cycling

The mayor of Paris took a private jet to promote ... the bicycle. An hour's flight on a private jet will emit more carbon dioxide than most Africans do in a whole year say climate activists.

Published: August 1, 2019, 5:32 am

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    A trip in a Falcon to promote cycling has been the latest idea of ​​Anne Hidalgo. According to Le Canard Enchaîné, the mayor of Paris was flown to one of the last stages of the Tour de France on July 26 to defend the use of the bicycle in everyday life.

    The problem however is that she made the round trip in the same day from Le Bourget airport aboard a Falcon, a luxury plane highly prized by the business community, and not a train.

    The Parisian entourage was invited by the Amaury Sport Organisation, the group that organises the Tour each year. In a effort to minimize the controversy, she immediately justified her gesture to a journalist from RTL, explaining it was “chartered by the Tour de France to transport the vials of anti-doping controls”.

    And she merely went along. “The organisation of the Tour de France offers personalities a ride on this plane,” she said.

    Since the Socialist mayor was on hand to promote cycling, a means of transport that she says she particularly likes because it allows one to “discover the city differently, is non-polluting and at the same time a way to practise healthy sports”.

    “For a very long time, I have loved cycling, I also exercise in Paris, and I am trying to make Paris a city of cyclists,” she told regional daily Dauphiné Libéré. “We are making sure that there is new infrastructure, two-way tracks on all major Parisian roads, to allow Parisians and visitors to cycle safely,” she detailed her plans for the daily.

    The revelations about the “green” mayor’s jetsetting, come in the wake of an announcement by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter that she will be traveling to the United States by boat to attend the UN Climate Action Summit in New York next month. Thunberg recently addressed the French National Assembly on climate change.

    As reported by The Guardian, “zero-carbon” Malizia II yacht is fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines that produce electricity on board to sail the activist “emission-free” across the Atlantic.

    In 2019, almost 40 million flights are expected to depart from airports worldwide – more than 100 000 trips per day. And this is no small matter as far as climate activists are concerned.

    In a survey published on Monday, July 29, Capital.fr also examined the financial legacy of the mayor of Paris.

    If Hidalgo plans to stay on as the mayor, her record is not very good. This is apparent from a long survey which also revealed the debt of the city.

    Between 2013 and 2017, the debt per capita increased from 1 636 to 2 835 euros, says the news site, adding that the figure has even increased since. A confidential note of the city council expected the debt levels to rise to at least 7 billion euros in 2020.

    Worse still: the same document revealed that the repayment of the annual loan would reach 300 million euros as from 2021, while it was only 200 million in 2014. By 2030, it will reach 400 million. “An absolutely unsustainable level,” said Cédric Villani, the unfortunate candidate for LREM for the municipal elections in 2020.

    Capital.fr also explained that “to hide the extent of the evil, the municipality has resorted to wily accounting tricks”.

    In addition, the administration of the capital has increased the tourist tax, parking rates, road rights and traffic fines. In the end, the city’s tax revenues increased by 23 percent, or 18 percent excluding inflation.

    As far as cleanliness goes, the situation is equally disastrous. Capital.fr points out that, according to a survey conducted in 2018, 74 percent of Parisians believe that the balance sheet of the municipality in this area was “not satisfactory”.

    An anecdote by Éric Azières, councilor for UDI-MoDem in Paris revealed the extent of the problem: “The mayor has recently realized that 20 percent of sweepers were not in operation, and she had to order 180 urgently.”

    Several months ago, one survey was conducted on behalf of the mayor to gauge the opinion of Parisians on the cleanliness of their city. The cost of the survey was 224 580 euros. And the mindless conclusion was that “the perception of the cleanliness of Paris is negative in terms of the findings related to poor sanitation”.

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