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ENVIRONMENT

French parliament gives green light to ban on oil and gas production

France's parliament on Tuesday passed into law a ban on producing oil and gas by 2040, a largely symbolic gesture as the country is 99 percent dependent on hydrocarbon imports.

French parliament gives green light to ban on oil and gas production
Photo: AFP

In the vote by show of hands, only the right-wing Republicans party opposed, while left-wing lawmakers abstained.

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.

Socialist lawmaker Delphine Batho said Tuesday she hoped the ban would be “contagious”, inspiring bigger producers to follow suit.

France extracts the equivalent of about 815,000 tonnes of oil per year — an amount produced in a few hours by Saudi Arabia.

But centrist President Emmanuel 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.

His government plans to stop the sale of diesel and petrol engine cars by 2040 as well.

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.

ENVIRONMENT

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.

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