Executive tries to respond to criticism for ‘climate inaction’
Emmanuel Macron built part of his re-election on April 24 on the promise to make France a “great ecological nation”which would be “the first to come out of gas, oil and coal”. “The policy that I will pursue in the next five years will be ecological or it will not be”, projected the head of state during a speech in Marseilles, a few days before the second round of the presidential election, with the stated aim of attracting the left-wing electorate to him. A commitment that is struggling to translate into action, four months later.
The defense of the environment, deplore the ecologists, was indeed the great absence of the discussions on the purchasing power, in July, in the Parliament. Worse, in anticipation of a winter threatened by the possible stoppage of gas deliveries by Russia, the government authorized the reopening of the coal-fired power station of Saint-Avold (Moselle); Mr. Macron had however promised the closure, before May 2022, of the four French coal-fired power stations, in the name of preserving the climate – only two were ultimately closed.
At the same time, the installation of a floating LNG terminal was approved in Le Havre (Seine-Maritime). Environmentalists fear that the latter could be used to import shale gas from the United States. So many choices that feed the nagging trial in “climate inaction” which the power in place has been the object of for five years.
Rather than lead “a major action plan” in favor of energy sobriety, “the government prefers to call us Amish and support shale gas”denounced the national secretary of Europe Ecology-The Greens (EELV), Julien Bayou.
“We are already importing shale gas”replied the Minister for Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, because the “Hydraulic fracturing is used today in most onshore fields in the world, including in Russia for that matter”. “The same would blame us for not having done everything to prevent a blackout next winter”annoys a close friend of Emmanuel Macron.
The executive knows he is expected at the turn at the start of the school year. The scorching summer, symbolic of climate disruptions, with repeated droughts, fueled the discussions of the French. “The government is locked in software that threatens the very conditions of existence”is alarmed by EELV MEP Yannick Jadot in The Sunday newspaper.
Faced with criticism, the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, planned to deliver a speech during the Medef summer universities on August 29, inviting business leaders to “take their part in sobriety” energy, in the words of an executive adviser, and “to see the ecological transition as a source of progress”. Two days later, the subject will be at the heart of a government seminar. The Minister Delegate for Transport, Clément Beaune, notably put forward the idea of regulating private jet flights.
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