Just two weeks after France said it will no longer allow the sale of gas- and diesel-powered autos after 2040, the United Kingdom has followed suit. In addition, the UK announced it is also exploring ways to tax the dirtiest vehicles on the road as a way to lower current air pollution levels in the most-affected local areas. About half of all cars registered in the UK each year are diesel-powered; electric and hybrid vehicles, although a growing market, still represent a tiny fraction of all new cars sold there. Experts predict that should start to shift in the mid-2020s as prices become more competitive.

John R. Platt

is the editor of The Revelator. An award-winning environmental journalist, his work has appeared in Scientific American, Audubon, Motherboard, and numerous other magazines and publications. His “Extinction Countdown” column has run continuously since 2004 and has covered news and science related to more than 1,000 endangered species. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers. John lives on the outskirts of Portland, Ore., where he finds himself surrounded by animals and cartoonists.