4 october 2017

Summary of le Monde article of September 4 on French Parliamentary approval of law ending fossil fuel exploration and production by 2040

A 4C Special, October 4, 2017

According to the French daily Le Monde, in the night of October 3-4, the French Parliament passed Article 1 of the "Hulot Law" (named after the current Minister of Ecology). The draft legislation stipulates that from the date of its final approval in the parliament - expected before the end of 2017 - no new permits will be issued for fossil fuel exploration, and that existing concessions for fossil fuel exploitation will not be renewed beyond 2040. The law implements the pledge of President Emmanuel Macron to end the fossil energy era in France.

Minister Hulot introduced the bill to Parliament by saying: "Climate Change does not recognize geographic frontiers and cannot tolerate political divisions...[This law is also] part of our answer to those - particularly in the United States - who have attempted to derail the train of the Paris Accord."

Dozens of amendments, both to weaken and to strengthen the draft law, were defeated before the final approval.

A proposal by both the mainstream Socialist Party and the left-socialist "Insoumis" to have the law include a goal of reducing fossil fuel consumption was deferred to a later debate on a long term energy program.

The law is important symbolically, since apart from France, only Costa Rica has pledged a complete stop to fossil fuel production. In a practical sense, however, the question of French consumption is much more significant, since only one percent of annual French fossil consumption (815,000 tons of petrol) comes from locally produced fuel. Moreover, the number of jobs directly or indirectly affected by fossil fuel production is only about 5500.

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