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ENVIRONMENT

France to order air-conditioned shops to keep doors shut

Air-conditioned shops in France will be ordered to keep their doors closed or risk being fined, a minister said Sunday announcing an upcoming rule to combat energy wastage.

A notice in french announcing aircon inside
A notice announcing air-conditioning inside, as the air temperature exceeds 30 degrees Celsius in the centre of Nantes, western France, on July 13, 2022. (Photo by Loic VENANCE / AFP)

Leaving the doors open when the air conditioning is on leads to “20 percent more consumption and… it’s absurd,” French Minister of Ecological Transition Agnes Pannier-Runacher told RMC radio.

The minister said there were also plans to restrict the use of illuminated signs.

“In the coming days, I will issue two decrees: the first will widen the ban on illuminated advertising, whatever the size of the city, between 1am and 6am”, with the exception of airports and stations, Pannier-Runacher told the
Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

“The second will ban shops from having their doors open while the air conditioning and heating are working”.

Some cities in France — which like other parts of Europe has been gripped by a heatwave recently — passed municipal by-laws in July, imposing fines for offending air-conditioned shops.

The government now plans to extend this to the whole country, with a fine of up to 750 euros ($766) — but will emphasise the education of shopkeepers in the first instance.

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WEATHER

Snow forecast in Paris as France shivers in early December chill

The French capital is set to see December snow this weekend, as temperatures dip across the country.

Snow forecast in Paris as France shivers in early December chill

Paris is expected to see its first snow of winter this weekend, with temperatures falling to between one and three degrees.

As France’s hottest year on record enters its final month, a small amount of snow is forecast in the greater Paris region on Friday evening – specifically Yvelines and part of Val-d’Oise, while rain in Essonne will mix with snow. Overnight, flurries are expected in Seine-Saint-Denis and into Paris itself – but no more than a dusting is expected.

Snow, this early in the season, is unusual in the capital. In 2010, 11 centimetres fell on December 9th, paralysing the city’s public transport system. It was the worst snowfall in the city in 25 years – and has not been repeated since. Generally, snow in Paris does not stick around.  

It’s not just the capital that it will feel chilly, Saturday will be cold across a large part of the country, as temperatures finally drop below seasonal norms, by as much as 5 degrees in some parts of France. Rain is forecast in the south, while the north will remain cloudy.

Some light overnight frosts are possible, according to Météo France, while temperatures are expected to reach between 3C and 6C in the north of the country, 7C to 9C further south, and up to 13C around the Mediterranean.

READ ALSO ‘We’re not in a disaster movie’ – How likely are blackouts in France this winter?

On Saturday, rain is expected in the south-east, which could bring a few centimetres of snow to the Massif Central at altitudes as low as 400m. 

On Sunday, some light snowfall may occur in the north-east, perhaps spreading as far as the historic Limousin area – but it is not expected to last. 

The Southern Alps should also see some snowfall on Saturday, and again on Sunday afternoon. A few flakes could also fall on the western part of the Pyrenees on Saturday afternoon, forecasters at Météo France said.

The cold spell will be shortlived, with temperatures rising again in the south of the country from Monday-Tuesday, and will do nothing to prevent 2022 setting climate records in France.

READ ALSO France’s ‘coldest village’ has its first frost-free October on record

Météo France said that global warming means cold periods in France are indeed increasingly rare and less intense. The winters of 2014 to 2021 were all “above normal”, while four of the five warmest winters on record were in 2007, 2014, 2016 and 2020.

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