by Graham Pierrepoint
Fossil fuels and carbon emissions are dirty words in today’s society – while we have survived for decades on power and electricity supplied by the likes of oil and coal, non-renewable sources, there has been considerable pushing for renewable energy to be heralded as a worthy substitute. Arguments for renewable energy surround the ongoing concerns regarding the gradual warming of the planet, and whether or not we as a society will be able to combat some of the damage we are allegedly causing to the world around us.
France, as part of new President Emmanuel Macron’s vision for the country long-term, has announced that it will be moving to ban all vehicles which use petrol and diesel by 2040 – with plans in place to offer considerable subsidies to poorer families who may otherwise be unable to fund electric cars or similar. Nicolas Hulot, operating as environment minister under Macron (who has been in charge since the spring), announced that the move would be part of a wider series of attempts to render France completely carbon neutral within the next 30-40 years – intending to put the nation at the forefront of leading environmental concern and to restrict external trade on produce born from deforestation.
It’s thought that Hulot’s plan will also aim to reduce the use of coal in the nation to absolute zero within five years, and that it will aim to make France one of the most responsible consumers of sustainable energy and produce heading towards 2050. It is certainly a bold move to wish to rule out petrol and diesel so soon – the industry, after all, is booming – but the French are not the only ones looking to move towards more sustainable vehicles.
It’s thought that automobile giant Volvo will be looking to produce solely hybrid and electric vehicles within the next two years – meaning that other manufacturers and nations may wish to follow suit. The Paris Climate Agreement has come under threat in recent weeks following US President Donald Trump’s apparent desire to remove the US from the treaty – however, it appears that many European countries such as France and the Netherlands are taking the bull by the horns to try and make environmental concerns the issue of the hour. Will France follow through on its plans for electric cars to take to the road? Time will tell.