What’s the greenest country on the planet? If you guessed France, you very well may be right. That’s because the nation which has made rooftop gardens mandatory and banned supermarkets from purposefully wasting food recently announced plans to ban the use of petrol and diesel-fueled cars by 2040.
French representative Nicolas Hulot said the new series of measures are part of President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to make France carbon neutral by 2050. “We want to demonstrate that fighting against climate change can lead to an improvement of French people’s daily lives,” said Hulot. Other initiatives proposed by the new ecology minister include ending the use of coal-generated electricity by 2022, as well as ending the importation of products which contain palm oil and unsustainably grown soya — both of which contribute to deforestation and the needless suffering of animals.
To reduce the burden on low-income households, poorer French citizens will be given premiums which allow them to trade their polluting vehicles for cleaner alternatives. Not only will the ban on petrol cars benefit the environment by reducing carbon emissions, it will prevent tons of hazardous chemicals from pouring into the environment, poisoning both humans and wildlife.
France is not the only country intent on banning combustion-powered cars. Both The Netherlands and Norway have previously said they want to eliminate petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025, and Germany and India announced similar goals to meet by 2030.
ClientEarth CEO James Thornton is one individual who is thrilled by the news. He commented, “This is a huge statement of intent from the French government and an example of how we’re likely to see exponential change in the coming years as governments grapple with the necessary changes we have to make for air quality and our climate.”
“Coming hot on the heels of Volvo’s announcement yesterday, the outlook for the internal combustion engine is bleak. This is now clearly the direction of travel and industry players who are not on board will find themselves struggling before long,” Thornton added. ”These moves should be heeded by other governments and industry, who need to act to protect us from air pollution in our towns and cities and help mitigate climate change.”
The Independent reports that the news was revealed just one day after Swedish automotive company Volvo announced that it would only be producing electric or hybrid vehicles from 2019. Clearly, the future — and present — is green.