Today’s Solutions: October 19, 2021

It seems e-commerce giant Amazon always gets its way, earning billions off its polluting delivery service while never paying a cent for the emissions its responsible for. In fact, the $793 billion company hasn’t even paid federal taxes for the last two years.

That’s why it’s incredibly satisfying to see Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo publish an open letter in the famous French newspaper Le Monde in which she declares her intention to make sure that e-commerce firms such as Amazon pay for the ills they are unleashing. Amazon, she wrote, was a “creator of precarity, congestion and pollution” and “an ecological disaster”; along with other services such as UberEats, the company should be charged a fee for its urban deliveries to offset the problems it causes.

Action was essential, the letter said, to avoid the kind of problems that New York City faces: Manhattan has “become a huge delivery area where anarchic shutdowns block all traffic,” and if nothing was done, then a situation like New York’s, where 1.5 million packages are delivered daily, would become “the nightmare that awaits us.”

The language used here is certainly strong, but Paris City Hall, which would likely re-propose the suggestions in more concrete form if Hidalgo and her administration are reinstated at March 2020’s municipal elections, is indeed picking up on a problem that’s rolling out globally.

The good news is that if Hidalgo manages to make Amazon pay for the emissions and traffic congestion it creates, it could pave the way for more cities to do the same.

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