France Vows End to Oil and Gas Exploration, Plans ‘Huge’ Energy Retrofit Program
France will stop granting new oil and gas exploration licences “on the mainland and in overseas territories”, Radio France Internationale reports, following President Emmanuel Macron’s campaign statement last February that he opposed shale gas exploration on the French mainland.
“There will be no new exploration licences for hydrocarbons,” Ecological and Social Transition Minister Nicolas Hulot told BFMTV. “we will pass the law this autumn.”
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“Macron even said he would like to see the exploitation of oil and gas halted altogether in France’s overseas territories, especially in French Guiana on the northeastern coast of South America,” RFI notes. “But Hulot, an environmental campaigner and former TV star before he joined the cabinet last month, said it would currently be impossible to take such a move without triggering lawsuits from energy companies.”
The Independent notes that Hulot also discussed plans to increase diesel taxes and “make decisions faster” on pollution reduction.
Macron has reaffirmed his commitment to a previous decision to reduce France’s reliance on nuclear electricity from 75 to 50% of total generation by 2025, though the newly-minted president “has evaded concrete targets for the ultimate aim of making France run completely on renewable energy,” the UK paper reports. The initial announcement in 2014, which could lead to the closure of 20 generating plants, raised concerns about job loss among the country’s 200,000 nuclear workers.
Macron “is also planning a huge renovation program for French homes to reduce energy consumption, cut carbon dioxide emissions, reduce energy poverty, and create jobs,” the Independent states.
Over the weekend, meanwhile, Macron and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger trolled Donald Trump and declared their support for global climate action in what CBC News describes as “a not-so-subtle selfie video” released after the two leaders met Friday.
“We’re talking about environmental issues and a green future,” Schwarzenegger said in the 10-second clip. “Now we will deliver together to make the planet great again,” Macron added.