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France to ban fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2040

Published 07 July 2017

France’s new ecology minister Nicolas Hulot has announced that the country will ban the sale of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040.

The announcement is part of the country’s commitment to Paris climate agreement. It follows, Swedish automaker Volvo’s recent announcement to focus only on producing electric vehicles from 2019.

French government’s bold step to move away from fossil fuel follows the recent decision taken by US President Donald Trump who decided to pull the country from the Paris accord.

Hulot said: "One of the symbolic acts of the plan is that France, which previously had made the promise to divide its greenhouse gas emissions by four by 2050, has decided to become carbon neutral by 2050 following the US decision.”

He also stated that carbon neutral objectives can guide the country in making the required investments.

According to Hulot, this can be a challenge for French automakers, but the industry is now well equipped to handle such a transition.

The minister insisted that this move will help in addressing a growing public health issue. He also cited the examples of Volvo’s recent announcement on electric cars and India’s recent announcement to sell only electric vehicles by 2030.

Reuters reported that there are about 95% of diesel and petrol vehicles in France, with electric cars representing 1.5% and hybrid vehicles representing about 3.5%.

France is however not the first European country planning to get rid of fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Other European countries such as the Netherlands and Norway previously announced to ban petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025 and Germany by 2030.

Nicolas Hulot has been an environmental campaigner, who ventured into politics few years ago. In May this year, the newly elect French President Emmanuel Macron appointed Nicolas Hulot as the Minister of Ecological and Solidary Transition.

Image: Nicolas Hulot in 2008. Photo: Courtesy of Olivier toutoune25 Tétard/Wikipedia.org