France to go climate neutral by 2050

The French government has announced that its country will be climate neutral by 2050. Measures include a previously announced ban on all new oil and gas exploration as well as a new ban on all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.

France has regarded itself as the “guardian of a universal responsibility to fight against climate change” ever since 2015’s Paris climate accords. At least, that’s how the new environment minister Nicolas Hulot formulated it in his ‘climate plan’, which he presented on Thursday.

“We want to surpass our own goals, we want to go further and be faster,” wrote Hulot.

The new climate plan will help the country meet its targets under the Paris climate accords and become carbon neutral by 2050. This will require rapidly expanding the country’s use of renewable energy, which the government plans to increase to 32 per cent of the country’s energy production by 2030.

Other measures include renovating the building stock to be more energy efficient, and effective immediately, no more permits for new oil and gas explorations, including shale gas and shale oil.

But making the biggest headlines today is Hulot’s announcement that his country will ban the sale of all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, calling it a “veritable revolution”.

“The solutions are there,” Hulot said. “Our own manufacturers have what they need to support this promise”, adding that this will contribute to the “public health agenda”.

With its climate plan, Paris is taking the steps needed to make France a leading centre for the green economy. To this end, Hulot also announced that his government will present a roadmap for the recycling economy next year, which will include recycling all plastic waste by 2025.

As for the City of Lights, it aims to become the capital of the green financial economy. France was already the first country to oblige financial investors to disclose the climate impact of their investments. The state-controlled banks BPI France and Groupe Caisse des depot will now actively promote investment funds that invest in environmental technology and green infrastructure.


Image credit: gckwolfe, flickr/Creative Commons

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