France Commits to Banning All Oil and Gas Extraction by 2040!

The French Parliament has passed legislation that will phase out oil and gas production by 2040. In a vote on Tuesday, December 19, France’s Parliament agreed to the phase out as part of a wider initiative to “#MakeOurPlanetGreenAgain”.

As the Guardian reports:

In Tuesday’s vote by show of hands, only the rightwing Republicans party opposed, while leftwing lawmakers abstained.

No new permits will be granted to extract fossil fuels and no existing licences will be renewed beyond 2040, when all production in mainland France and its overseas territories will stop.

Socialist lawmaker Delphine Batho said she hoped the ban would be “contagious”, inspiring bigger producers to follow suit.

French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the move on Twitter, saying he is “very proud” that France has taken such a decisive step:

Does this ban actually mean much?

That really depends on your perspective.

Critics of this move do raise one valid point: though France does have access to oil in French territories like Guyana in South America, France as a nation has no oil reserves to drill and so is almost entirely reliant on foreign imports. As a result, this ban is unlikely to dramatically impact France’s main industrial income streams.

This is true, and it is undeniable that when looking at domestic use, this ban is largely symbolic. However, this criticism overlooks a key aspect of France’s new role in global politics.

Due to the collapse of British influence, something that seems to have hastened under the cloud of Brexit, as well as the continued problems with American politics under President Trump, there is space on the world stage for new voices to rise. When President Trump announced America would pull out of the landmark Paris climate deal, President Macron sought to bring new energy to the landmark agreement by trying to shape France in its image.

As a result, the ban may help to set a tone in Europe for continued and decisive action against fossil fuels. France’s economy is one of the stronger forces in Europe. While the ban itself may not impact French industry, if the ban is used to underpin France’s investment and trade decisions going forward, it could further persuade European member states and their close allies to ditch fossil fuels.

It’s also worth looking at this move in the context of France’s other legislation. France banned fracking in 2011, and has slowly but surely been tightening regulations on fossil fuels over the past several years. For example, it recently also committed to phasing out gasoline and diesel vehicles, with a total ban set for 2040.

Green energy and climate action campaigners have welcomed these steps, though they have urged France to act even quicker on these points to aid the global effort toward keeping rising temperatures below the 2C above industrial temperatures threshold.

No ‘Au Revoir’ to Nuclear Power Though

On Sunday, December 17, President Macron confirmed that France would not be phasing out nuclear power as close ally Germany has already started doing. France has quickly become reliant on nuclear energy and Macron has said that he believes in “picking his battles.”

He believes that as nuclear power is far less problematic in terms of CO2 emissions, at least compared to fossil fuels, France can maintain its climate change agenda while still continuing to run nuclear power and invest in renewables like wind and solar. This will not sit well with all green campaigners, but it speaks to how every nation will have to find its own ways of compromising and transitioning away from fossil fuels.

To be sure, France is making steps in the right direction at a time when the world sorely needs such voices to speak up and demand change.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.

55 comments

Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven9 months ago

Thank you

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven9 months ago

Thank you

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Jerome S
Jerome S9 months ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S9 months ago

thanks

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Brian F
Brian F9 months ago

Great news, but France needs to stop using nuclear power with it's waste issues. Storing nuclear waste for the next 100,000 years is unacceptable and irresponsible. Solar and wind have gone down dramatically in price, and could be scaled up to provide all the electricity in France.

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Ben O
Ben O9 months ago

By 2040...? -We'll be in deep shite by then! : ~ (

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Lisa M
Lisa M9 months ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M9 months ago

Thanks.

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Janis K
Janis K9 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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