France Preparing To Ban Fossil-Fuel Powered Cars By 2040

France would like to ban sales of fossil-fuel powered cars by 2040 in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement.

Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot on Thursday made a presentation addressing a ban on gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. It was one part of a broad proposal covering six themes and 23 policy proposals that would bring the country to carbon neutral status by 2050.

French President Emmanuel Marcon will be moving the proposed rules forward to fight climate change now that the U.S. has pulled out of the global accord reached in December 2015 in the nation’s capital.

“One of the symbolic acts of the plan is that France, which previously had made the promise to divide its greenhouse gas emissions by four by 2050, has decided to become carbon neutral by 2050 following the U.S. decision,” Hulot said.

Hulot acknowledged that reaching the ban by 2040 will be a tall order, what he called a “revolution.” The technology will be in place for French automakers to comply with the rules though, he said.

The ecology minister said that the potential is already in the works through other automakers. Examples given were Volvo’s new strategy to only bring out electrified models starting in 2019, and that India has set 2030 as the target for only selling all-electric vehicles in the market.

As in other countries like the U.S., plug-in electrified vehicles for now only hold a small share of total new vehicle sales. In the first six months of the year, PEVs made of 1.2 percent of the share, hybrid vehicles made up 3.5 percent and traditional gasoline- and diesel powered passenger vehicles made up the remaining 95.2 percent, Reuters reported.

French automaker Renault’s Zoe all-electric small car has been the top-selling PEV in Europe for quite a while. The Renault Master Z.E. large van was displayed January at the Brussels Motorshow in Belgium.

The nation will be making wide-sweeping policy changes to make it to carbon neutral by 2050, Hulot said.

France will also be ending the granting of hydrocarbon licenses, which are needed for oil and gas exploration. Coal-generated electricity production will have to end by 2022. Nuclear power will be cut down at utilities from the current level of 75 percent to 50 percent by 2025.

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European governments, both national and city, have been enacting or considering cutting fossil-fuel powered cars for several years to fight climate change and to clean up air quality in crowded cities. Paris and London have played leading roles, as have Germany, Norway, France, and the UK.

Environmental group Greenpeace asked to see a more clear national policy given out by the French government. The end goals are admirable, but how it will be carried out was missing from the announcement.

“The goal to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2040 sends out a strong signal, but we would really like to know what are the first steps achieve this, and how to make this ambition something other than a disappointment,” Greenpeace campaigner Cyrille Cormier said in a statement.

Reuters


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