Most early analyses of France’s election outcome have focused on the dodged bullet of hyper-nationalism. But where does incoming president Emmanuel Macron stand on climate?
In a comparison last month of the then-leading candidates in the French election, Carbon Brief reviewed Macron’s positions on the energy and climate files.
On the Paris agreement, Macron is set to carry on the leadership France showed in pushing the landmark climate accord across the finish line in 2015. His En Marche! party will make Paris implementation a “priority”, but has backed off earlier suggestions that it might look for ways to punish other signatories who backslide (yes, he was looking at you, America).
The En Marche! campaign also promised to “begin a profound break with…fossil fuel consumption.” That could begin by hastening the closure of France’s only four coal-fired power plants by 2022, a year before they are currently scheduled to shut down. Macron has also said he would issue no new licences for hydraulic fracturing, and hinted at an accelerated wind-down of nuclear’s dominant 75% share of French electrical generation. According to Carbon Brief, he will also put energy storage and smart grids at the top of France’s “research, development and operator investment” list.
The incoming president also promised voters more retail-scale energy benefits, including a €4-billion fund for energy retrofits, and a mechanism to “restore purchasing power to the least well off by reducing their heating and fuel costs”.
Macron, whose election many celebrated as a rejection of French racial chauvinism, also warned his citizens to brace for a flood of as many as 250 million climate refugees by mid-century.