How did Sarkozy do on the environment in his first year?

France Nature Environnement (FNE), a federation of environmental NGOs, delivers a mixed score card on Sarkozy’s efforts on the environment during his first year in office. It is worth recalling that Sarkozy was rated the least environment-friendly of all the candidates in the presidential election campaign, well behind his Socialist rival Segolene Royale. But he surprised everyone by delivering the Grenelle de l’Environnement, a bold and innovative political exercise which for the first time brought together all stakeholders to collectively craft the country’s policies on the environment for the next decade.

Sebastien Genest, president of FNE: “By acknowledging the role of associations, initiating the Grenelle de l’environnement, taking strong commitments, Nicolas Sarkozy took a risk: creating immense expectations! Failure would be absolutely dreadful. For now, the Grenelle is not dead and its pursuit is the guarantee that our country is on the right track. However, we must be cautious. All the ecology-sceptics are standing on the brakes and we must not help them.” 

On the plus side:

– designating the Environment Minister as the number two in the government

– the Grenelle

– acknowledgement, at the highest level and for the first time in the history of the 5th Republic, of the existence and the role of NGOs in protecting the environment

– the shelving of a project for a gold mine in Guyana

– the ban on GM corn MON 810

 Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo’s promise to not touch the law on France’s coastlines

– the creation of a scientific foundation for biodiversity

On the minus side:

– the relentless defence of commercial interests of the nuclear industry

– an economic policy grounded in quantitative growth

– a carbon tax which is still hypothetical

– a vote against the European soil protection law

– authorization of the creation of a new airport near Nantes

– authorization of “Cruiser” pesticide

 calling for a rethink of the European Union fishing quotas

– authorization of the construction of a highway around Strasbourg, putting at risk the Grand Hamster d’Alsace 

– failure to act quickly on the catastrophe of PCB pollution in the Rhone river

– failure to make the ‘ecopastille’ tax (a bonus/malus system with 130 g CO2 as a breakeven point) on new cars a yearly tax


via Les 4 Elements






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