Nicholas Hulot, the new environmental minister for France, has announced a 5-year plan that will lead to that country becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The plan is part of France’s commitment to the Paris climate accords. One feature of the proposal would prohibit the sale of all cars with internal combustion engines by the year 2040.
Au Revoir To Internal Combustion Engines
M. Hulot told reporters his government wants to maintain France’s “leadership” in addressing global warming and climate change policies. “We are announcing an end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040,” he said, calling the plan a “virtual revolution.” He added, “We want to demonstrate that fighting against climate change can lead to an improvement of French people’s daily lives.”
He acknowledged the timeline would be “tough” for French automakers to meet but suggested, “Our [car]makers have enough ideas in the drawer to nurture and bring about this promise … which is also a public health issue.” He called the plan a question of public health policy and called it “a way to fight against air pollution.”
When Hulot says French manufacturers are up to the challenge, he is correct. The Nissan LEAF and the Renault Zoe together account for almost a quarter of all the electric cars currently on the highways and byways of the world. Peugeot and Citroen are also heavily involved in bringing electric cars to market. The French plan includes subsidies for lower income families that will allow them to transition from the high-pollution carbon bombs they are driving today to the zero-emissions cars of the future.