The country will stop granting new licenses, as part of a transition towards renewables
A new law is about to be passed in France this autumn, concerning the country’s energy (production) policy. In an effort to make France run completely on renewable energy, Emmanuel Macron’s government aims to stop granting new licenses for oil and gas exploration (existing licenses will remain valid). The decision was announced by Nicolas Hulot, the so-called “ecological transition” minister, who was previously famed for his environmental activism and nature documentaries. He also outlined proposals to increase the taxation on diesel and to “make decisions faster” to curtail air pollution. Furthermore, the government is planning a huge renovation program for French homes to reduce energy consumption, cut carbon dioxide emissions, reduce energy poverty and create new jobs.
The upcoming law
Although the country’s total oil production amounts to just 15,000 barrels per day from operations that cover about 1,500 mi2, Mr. Macron favored a complete ban on fracking during his election campaign. However, Mr. Hulot believes that the solution is a gradual change in moving away from oil, as otherwise it would be impossible to avoid triggering lawsuits from energy companies. Regarding the new legislation it is said that “the measure would essentially kill development of shale oil and gas in mainland France and in the country’s overseas territories, but does nothing to curb ongoing exploration or extraction projects involving conventional oil and gas.” That is why the French climate and environmental activists feel that it does not go far enough. “There are at least 55 exploration licenses that were previously approved and will likely be extended, and 132 extraction permits awaiting approval,” said Juliette Renaud, a fossil fuel industry expert with Friends of the Earth. “If we continue to exploit conventional hydrocarbons, it will be impossible to keep global temperatures from rising above 2°C.”