Although somewhat symbolic, the new legislation coincides with the 2040 end of gas and diesel vehicle sales.
While *some* countries on this planet appear to be gung-ho on time-machining us back to the Industrial Revolution, others are looking forward. Case in point: France.
President Emmanuel Macron has presented a draft bill laying out plans to phase out all oil and gas exploration and production on its mainland and overseas territories by 2040. The legislations, which is expected to pass later this year, will make France the first country to take such a leap. Reuters reports:
Under the draft presented to cabinet, France will no longer issue exploration permits. The extension of current concessions will be gradually limited until they are phased out by 2040 - when France plans to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.
It's a bold statement, to be sure. That said, France produces only about 1 percent of what it consumes in oil and gas; and they will continue to import and refine oil. So ... the planet will still be poked and prodded for its carbon-spewing riches, just not in France. But nonetheless, it still represents a closure of about 63 sites and the production of 15,000 barrels per day; and it aligns succinctly with France's goal to be carbon neutral by 2050.
Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot says that the move shows France's commitment to climate change goals and will enable it to convince others to follow, notes Reuters. Adding that the law could "affect companies such as France's Total, which although it has discontinued oil exploration in mainland France, has permits to explore in overseas territories such as offshore Guyane Maritime in French Guiana."
France also plans to stop generating electricity from coal by 2022, as well as significantly reduce its use of nuclear power – instead focusing on an increase in renewable energy. So while some countries are trying to bring back coal and drill baby drill, at least there's comfort in knowing that other nations are taking up the torch. Even when actions are mostly symbolic, it's the kind of symbols we should be praising.