French lawmakers back plans to ban oil and gas production

France's lower house of parliament gave its overwhelming backing Tuesday to a ban on producing oil and gas on French territory by 2040.

French lawmakers back plans to ban oil and gas production
Total refinery of Donges in Paimboeuf, near the western French city of Saint-Nazaire. Photo: AFP
The ban is largely symbolic as France imports around 99 percent of its oil and gas, but Paris hopes the move will inspire bigger producers to follow suit.
The national assembly passed the bill by 316 votes to 69.
“France is on an unstoppable path to scrapping fossil fuels,” said Nicolas Hulot, the high-profile green activist named by President Emmanuel Macron as his environment minister in May.

France to put a stop to fossil fuel production

Photo: AFP    

No new permits will be granted to extract fossil fuels and no existing licences will be renewed beyond 2040, when all production in mainland France and its overseas territories will stop.
France extracts the equivalent of about 815,000 tonnes of oil per year — an amount produced in a few hours by Saudi Arabia.
But the centrist Macron has said he wants France to take the lead as a major world economy switching away from fossil fuels — and the nuclear industry — into renewable sources.
Above all the ban will affect companies prospecting for oil in the French territory of Guyana in South America, while also banning the extraction of shale gas by any means — its extraction by fracking was banned in 2011.
The bill includes a few exceptions to the ban, including the capturing of gas from mines, which is considered desirable for security reasons.
The extraction of fossil fuels for research purposes may also be extended beyond 2040.


France to ban e-scooters from pavements this September

France will ban electric scooters from pavements in September, the transport minister said, in a backlash against a surge of the commuter gizmos invading pedestrian areas.

France to ban e-scooters from pavements this September
A woman uses a Lime-S electric scooter in Paris on March 3. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard
An estimated 15,000 scooters operated by several companies have flooded the French capital since their introduction last year, a number projected to surge to 40,000 by the end of this year.
Elisabeth Borne told the Le Parisien daily in remarks published Saturday that anyone riding an e-scooter, monowheel, personal transporter or hoverboard on the pavement would be fined 135 euros ($151) from September.
Instead, they will have to use the street or dedicated cycling paths, “so pedestrians are no longer squeezed against walls”, the minister said. The development of the hugely popular personal transport vehicles “happened very fast and in a bit of an anarchic way”, she added.
Riders will still be allowed to push them on the pavement, so long as the engine is turned off.
Scooter rental services, from companies like US-based Lime and Bird — and most recently ride-hailing giant Uber — have proved wildly popular in many cities. The French move follows a decision by Peru to ban motorised scooters from pavements and pedestrian areas from this week.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo had last month already announced measures to protect pedestrians from e-scooters, “especially older people and children”. She said parking in such a way as to obstruct traffic or pedestrians will 
mean a 35-euro fine — but the Paris city council has pledged to build parking spots for 2,500 scooters.
Berlin's city hall has also drawn up tough new rules for e-scooters, while Spanish tourist hotspot Barcelona has banned scooter rental services completely.
More than 1,500 people have been treated for injuries from using battery-powered electric scooters in the United States since the craze began in late 2017, a Consumer Reports survey showed in February.