Quantcast

France Plans to Ban Fossil Fuel Production

Popular
Oil pumping station on Lake of Parentis, France. Wikimedia Commons

By Hannah McKinnon

Unprecedented and "never-before-seen" impacts of climate change are all around us. From Hurricanes' Harvey and Irma to massive flooding in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal to forest fires burning through the west coast of North America—climate change is here and now, and it is catastrophic.

Fortunately, unprecedented and never-before-seen climate policy is also starting to take hold. While the devastating impacts of climate change demand a rapid response and emergency support, the true measure of political commitment is how far governments will go to stop digging us deeper into this hole.


Today, France (including overseas territories) is positioning itself to become the first country to ban all exploration permits and renewals for unconventional fuels as well as banning the conversion of exploration permits into production permits.

We know that we already have enough oil, coal and gas in already producing fields to take us past 2 degrees C of global warming. It is only logical that we put an end to exploration for and expansion of fossil fuels we don't want or need.

In the legislation, that will be debated in October, the French government is taking climate action to another level. They are recognizing that climate leadership in the 21st century is about more than reducing emissions, pricing carbon and improving efficiency. It must also be about keeping fossil fuels that the climate cannot afford in the ground.

The legislation is not perfect, it does not include coal bed methane in its definition of unconventionals for example. The government should also take away existing licenses which have seen no investment.

But it does provide a new starting line for rich, northern countries that have the means to be first movers. And while France is not home to massive fossil fuel reserves, like other oil importers it faces political and economic pressures to reduce those imports by developing its own oil. So this move should not be underestimated in its precedent-setting nature.

With the Paris Climate Agreement as a defining moment for the world, the French government is wise to keep its name synonymous with policies that take us in the right direction.

This is the cutting edge of climate action, and with governments the world over being confronted with incredible people power, relentless climate impacts, and defining science, it shouldn't be long before more join the enlightened list of countries that understand where we must go.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Trump leaves after delivering a speech at the Congress Centre during the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos on Jan. 21, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed the concerns of environmental activists as "pessimism" in a speech to political and business leaders at the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Tuesday.

Read More

Warning: The video above may be upsetting to viewers.

An amusement park in China came under fire on social media this weekend for forcing a pig off a 230 foot-high bungee tower.

Read More
Sponsored
Participants at the tree-planting event in Ankazobe district, Madagascar, on Jan. 19. Valisoa Rasolofomboahangy / Mongabay

By Malavika Vyawahare, Valisoa Rasolofomboahangy

Madagascar has embarked on its most ambitious tree-planting drive yet, aiming to plant 60 million trees in the coming months. The island nation celebrates 60 years of independence this year, and the start of the planting campaign on Jan. 19 marked one year since the inauguration of President Andry Rajoelina, who has promised to restore Madagascar's lost forests.

Read More
A pedestrian wearing a mask walks in a residential area in Beijing on Jan. 21, 2020. The number of people in China infected by a new SARS-like virus jumped to 291, according to authorities. WANG ZHAO / AFP via Getty Images

A new coronavirus that began sickening people in China late in 2019 can be transmitted from human to human, the country's health ministry announced Monday.

Read More
New pine trees grow from the forest floor along the North Fork of the Flathead River on the western boundary of Glacier National Park on Sept. 16, 2019 near West Glacier, Montana. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

By Alex Kirby

New forests are an apparently promising way to tackle global heating: the trees absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activities. But there's a snag, because permanently lower river flows can be an unintended consequence.

Read More