France will outlaw the sale of all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, their new environment minister, Nicolas Hulot, has announced. It will also ban any “new project to use petrol, gas or coal”, as well as shale oil, by that date. The radical measures were unveiled at a press conference as part of French president Emmanuel Macron’s pledge to “make the planet great again”.
The country wants to become carbon neutral, or have a zero-net carbon footprint, by 2050. It will start by phasing out the use of gas-powered cars and replacing them with electric vehicles. France will provide financial assistance to lower-income households, and encourage them to turn their gas guzzlers in for something green and clean.
France is nowhere near the only country aiming to ban combustion-powered cars in some form. Germany wants to do away with 100 per cent combustion-powered vehicles by 2030, as does India. The Netherlands and Norway wish to do so by 2025. For Flanders, all newly sold cars should have zero emissions by 2035. The announcement comes one day after Volvo said that by 2019 all of its new models will be either electric or hybrid.
But while high in ambition, the speech was short on details about how exactly the goals could be reached. It will become clear in the future whether they will put in place the policies to deliver their vision.