France: Macron’s Environment Transition measures ensue mixed feelings
Yesterday French President Emmanuel Macron presented the different measures of the Environment Transition law setting the climate ambition of France for 2030 and 2050.
Petrol prices will be adapted depending on the market, 14 nuclear reactors should close by 2035, while the amount of electricity produced by wind farms and solar panels will be increased. The Greens aren’t happy, though.
The French people aren’t satisfied. Some are joining the ‘Yellow Jacket’ movement to protest against rising petrol prices while others are baffled by the carbon emissions and the environment stance of the country that held the world’s biggest climate conference in 2015.
Yesterday, President Macron presented the different measures of the Environment Transition law, which don’t seem to satisfy any of the above-mentioned groups.
In his speech, the President clearly announced that his government would continue its course toward a global environment transition. Yet, the difficulties of working class French people were only addressed as simple talking point and not as a core element. ‘Yellow Jacket’ protestors will remember from the speech that petrol prices will be adapted depending on the market. Macron announced that a government consultation including ‘Yellow Jackets’ representatives would take place in three months.
On other climate measures, the President confirmed the closing of 14 nuclear reactors, all while specifying that France shouldn’t abandon this carbon-free energy source. The nuclear reduction of 50% was pushed back from 2025 to 2035. On the other hand, all of the coal plants will be closed by 2022.
On electricity production still, Macron extolled an ‘electricity mix’ that should see the amount of wind farm production tripled and the solar panel production multiplied by five by 2030. From next year to 2028, the sustainable energy budget will be increased to 71 billion euro.
To control the evolution and effects of these environment measures, the President announced the establishment of a climate council composed of 13 experts. This body should ensure the respect of the emission reduction path, the proper implementation of policies, the social and economic effect of these actions and their impact on the trade balance.
With more than 440.000 jobs and 16% of the manufacturing industry, cars will continue to have a future in France, according to Macron. Climate advocates are disappointed by the measures and the disappearance of the end date for internal combustion engine cars, previously fixed for 2040 by the now resigned Environment Minister, Nicolas Hulot.
“We expected structural and historical measures to fight against climate change but the answer isn’t up to the urgency of the matter”, declared Greenpeace France CEO, Jean-François Julliard. “While the government stood its ground before, it’s the end of the petrol price increase that should incite low carbon investments”, added Génération Ecologie manager, Delphine Batho. The Greens also regret the push back on nuclear reduction pointing out that without a significant reduction, sustainable electricity production won’t have the space to develop.