The Grenelle de L’Environnement was launched in July as the keystone of the newly-elected Fillon government’s push on the environment. It’s basically a huge pow-wow among all stakeholders on the environment aimed at defining – in a democratic, consultative fashion – the main policy axes for the next five years. More than 1000 proposals have been submitted by government bodies, industry, unions, NGOs and associations and the consultations should wind up in late October to yield 15-20 policies which should put France on track towards its ultimate goal of a 75 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2005.
Here are some of the elements which are expected to emerge:
– stricter guidelines on air quality which will affect the chemical industry
– improvements on the energy performance in the building industry
– a new petrol tax to finance investment in renewable energy
– new GDP indicator which takes into account the environmental and societal impact of growth
– limits on intensive agriculture
Don’t, however, expect any big changes in the hot-button topics of nuclear energy, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and incinerators.
The FNTR, National Federation of Lorry Transportation, for its part has proposed a series of measures aimed at cutting by one-third its carbon emissions. The sector accounts for nearly 7 percent of the country’s total emissions. The proposals include a speed limit of 80 kms/hour, a ban on overtaking and switching to biofuels. Can anyone actually imagine the French lorry drivers beetling along at 80 kms/hour, politely refusing to overtake eachother?