Later this year France is set to pass a law whereby no new licenses for gas and oil exploration —particularly of hydrocarbons — will be granted. The move is driven by President Emmanuel Macron and Minister of Ecological and Social Transition Nicolas Hulot to push the use of environmentally-friendly energy. In fact, even during his election campaign, Macron stated that he was opposed to exploration for gas and favored a ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking). France is also one of several nations and international environmental organizations that is involved in the anti-fracking movement.
Hydrocarbons are an organic compound comprised entirely of carbon and hydrogen — such as those that are the principal constituents of natural gas and petroleum (crude oil). A section in a publication by ResearchGate, Microbial Degradation of Alkanes, explains that “Petroleum Hydrocarbons are introduced into the environment due to their extensive use as fuels and chemicals. Besides, leaks and accidental spills occur often during exploration, production, reﬁning, transport, and storage of petroleum and petroleum products which used to add an additional burden of hydrocarbons to soils and water systems…. Anthropogenic hydrocarbon contamination of soil is a serious global issue throughout the industrialised world” due to serious contamination incidents and their negative impact on human health and environmental perseverance.
As far as nuclear pollution goes, around 75% of France’s electricity is presently delivered by nuclear power stations, with the industry giving jobs to around 200,000 people and led by largely state-owned French electric utility company, EDF. Last year though, a law, that sparked much controversy over potential job loss, was passed to lower the nuclear proportion to 50% by 2025.
The President is also has massive plans to reduce energy consumption in homes, reduce energy poverty, cut carbon dioxide emissions, and generate jobs. Additionally, France is one of the countries that has expressed outrage at Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the historic Paris accords on the pretext that it was a “bad deal” for the U.S. The Accords are the first resolution uniting all nations into a common cause to combat climate change, deal with its impact, and help developing countries do the same.
Despite all the above, Macron has avoided tangible targets to ultimately make France operate entirely on renewable energy. The outcome and reaction to his new laws are yet to be seen.