France’s new ‘climate plan’: Sales of petrol and diesel vehicles to end by 2040

France will end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 as part of an ambitious plan to meet its targets under the Paris climate accord, new Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot announced Thursday. Here are the main points of the plan.

France's new 'climate plan': Sales of petrol and diesel vehicles to end by 2040
Photo: AFP
France's swashbuckling TV star turned environment minister Nicolas Hulot laid out France's new “climate plan” intended to meet the ambitious targets of the Paris climate accord on Thursday and become carbon neutral by 2050.
These are the main points:
Stopping the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040
“We are announcing an end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040,” Hulot said, calling it a “veritable revolution”.
“The solutions are there,” Hulot said. “Our own manufacturers have what they need to support this promise”, adding that it all contributed to the “public health agenda”. 
Acknowledging that reaching the target would be “tough”, particularly for automakers, Hulot said that France's car industry was well equipped to make the switch.
French car manufacturers Peugeot, Citroen and Renault ranked first, second and third on a 2016 list of large car manufacturers with the lowest carbon emissions, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said.
Bonus for those buying “cleaner” vehicles
In order to make the transition easier, the government is proposing to offer financial assistance for French people who want to upgrade to a “cleaner” vehicle. 
This will apply to people who want to replace their diesel cars made before 1997 and petrol cars manufactured before 2001.
However the amount of the bonus has not been revealed, but they will be geared towards those on lower incomes.
Ending use of fossil fuels
Sources of energy that harm the environment must disappear, was one of the messages Hulot delivered in his speech. 
Hulot says five percent of France's energy supply is produced from coal, but “this is still too much”, said the minister. He wants to end all use of coal power while at the same time helping out those workers who will be impacted by the change.
As already reported Hulot also said he would end all new exploitation of oil and gas reserves in France, for which a law will be put through parliament in the autumn.
He vowed to end all use of fossil fuels by 2040.
Making buildings energy efficient 
Over the next 10 years Hulot said he wants to pull down buildings that are badly insulated and therefore use up too much energy.
He said the government would also pay for evaluations for all those on low incomes to work out how they can better insulate their homes whilst saving on electricity bills.
Help homeowners to produce their own electricity
“Everyone wants to be able to produce and consume their own energy,” said Hulot. The minister wants to make it more feasible for homeowners to do just that. He said some 14,000 are already doing it.
Reducing reliance on nuclear energy
Reducing the role of nuclear energy in producing electricity by 50 percent remains an objective for France, Hulot said in his speech, adding that it is one he hopes to meet.
Fighting Climate change 
Hulot announced his plan to “increase the price of carbon” – essentially the cost companies must pay for producing carbon emissions, which he hopes would encourage them to find greener energy solutions.
The new price will feature in the next budget, he said, adding that France aims to be carbon-neutral by 2050. 
Tackling deforestation
Hulot says it vital to protect the world's tropical forests in the Amazon, West Africa and south east Asia. He wants to end the importation of products that contribute to the deforestation of these areas.



Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Across south west France trapping campaigns have begun in an attempt to control the numbers of dangerous Asian hornets.

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Trapping campaigns are organised annually at this time of year, as the weather begins to get warmer and queens begin to emerge from hibernation.

And the Charente-Maritime town of Royan Atlantique, on France’s west coast, is leading the way, as the below video shows.

Experts say that now is the time to begin using the traps, as catching queen hornets in the process of building their nests will lead to far fewer insects later in the year. 

Some 2,000 traps are installed in and around Royan this year, including 300 that were distributed to householders in the week of Valentine’s Day. 

Once installed, the traps can capture several dozen insects at a time.

In order to capture a maximum of hornet queens, traps should be installed between mid-February and mid-May. Especially since during this period, these predators end up coming out of their hibernation.

It is believed Asian hornets arrived in France around 2004. They have now spread nationwide.

Although their venom is not more powerful than that of normal bees or wasps, they are known to be more aggressive towards humans, and their stings can cause anaphylactic shock in allergic people.

The hornets also damage beehives and kill bees, damaging honey stocks and destroying the native ecosystem.