French presidential candidate goes green

Stockholm (NordSIP) Emmanuel Macron, the centre-left En Marche! party candidate in the 2017 French presidential elections, has pledged €15 billion for green energy transition as part of a public investment plan worth €50 billion, which also includes training youth and modernizing public administration, farming and local transport. The plan is part of a broader economic programme that includes cutting corporate and other taxes, other areas of public spending, and job market flexibility. Mr Macron claims to be inspired by the Scandinavian model.

Mr Macron’s green energy plan is comprised of 6 objectives:

  • Eliminating France’s dependence on fossil fuels, by closing remaining coal plants within 5 years, prohibiting the exploration of shale gas and not issuing any new hydrocarbon exploration permits in accordance with the Paris Agreement, and integrating ecological costs into the price of carbon;
  • Accelerating the shift towards balanced and carbon-free energy production, by financing the development of renewable energies, such as doubling wind capacities by 2022, simplifying procedures for deploying renewable energies, and focusing R&D and investment on energy and smart grid operators;
  • To create a new economic model based on recycling, among other things by strengthening the lifespan of household appliances, gradually increasing the general tax on polluting activities, enforcing packaging indications, extending bonuses to eco-contributors, and launching initiatives against food waste;
  • To protect the health of the French, by encouraging new consumption practices on the basis of previously existing health initiatives, taxing diesel and drastically fining pollution, strengthening standards for new vehicles (drawing lessons from the Volkswagen scandal) and ensuring at least 50% biological products in gastronomical enterprises;
  • Ensuring oversight, with the French state committing to support regions in return for their commitment to reducing their environmental imprint, creating ecological forms of employment, deploying electric vehicles and other overhauls that can be incentivized by the state, and;
  • Preserving the planet, by mobilizing political and business leaders to create momentum and awareness as global climate change conferences, locating the French agency for Biodiversity overseas and promoting commercial sanctions at the pan-European level.

These proposals follow a marked drop in French investments in renewable energy in recent years (by over 50% 2014-2015), falling far short of European 2020 targets.

According to current polling, Mr Macron is expected to reach the second round of the French presidential election in May, where he is expected to face off against right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen.

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