No more petrol and diesel cars after 2040

Ecology minister will introduce grants to help poorer households get rid of old polluting vehicles and buy more modern ones

7 July 2017
Clearing older polluting cars off France's roads is a key aim of Mr Hulot's climate plan
By Connexion journalist

As hundreds of thousands of drivers head off for summer holidays today and southbound roads are classed ‘red’ for traffic jams, the government is planning for a future without petrol or diesel cars.

Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot presented his climate plan as a series of measures that will cut air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and meet France’s obligations under the Paris climate agreement.

The main measure was the end of sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 and Mr Hulot said it was more than a climate measure, it was needed for public health to combat air pollution.

He recognised this was a difficult objective for manufacturers but added French car-makers already had the basics to make it work.

Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroën have zero pollution electric vehicles on the roads and Mr Hulot’s announcement came after Swedish firm Volvo said all its vehicles will be electric from 2019.

Jean-Eric Raoul, editor of Auto-Journal, said that there was plenty of time for the plan to work “especially when we see the progress the car industry has made in making electric and other ‘clean’ vehicles.

More immediately, Mr Hulot said each person in France could benefit from a ‘changeover bonus’ to get rid of an old polluting car (a diesel built before 1997 or a pre-2001 petrol vehicle) and buy a cleaner one, whether new or secondhand.

Mr Hulot said there would be no new exploration permits for oil, gas, coal and other hydrocarbons and he aims to close all coal-fired power stations by 2020. They make up just 5% of France’s energy mix, which is 70+% nuclear, but Mr Hulot also plans to cut nuclear to 50% by 2025.

Badly-insulated buildings, which leak heat in winter and are too hot in summer, will be “eradicated” in the next 10 years and Mr Hulot said there would be a budget of €4billion for improving energy efficiency through improved insulation. He said this was not an expense but an investment as it reduced both energy bills and energy use.

An import ban is to be introduced on agriculture and forestry products that are obtained from global deforestation – with a major target being palm oil and soya products harvested through the destruction of Amazon, south-east Asia and Congo forests.

By 2050, Mr Hulot said France aimed to be ‘carbon neutral’ with the level of greenhouse gas emissions being equalled by carbon storage in forests or other methods. 

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