Emmanuel Macron’s program on ecological transition
On May 7th last month, Emmanuel Macron became the 8th President of the Fifth French Republic. Upon inspection of his manifesto, voters could find some measures concerning environmental and energetic issues. However, the party isn’t over. Now it’s necessary to obtain a majority in the legislative elections. This will be the price to pay for him to enact his manifesto.
Certainly, many environmentalists joined the new president during his campaign as Corine Lepage or François de Rugy and he has referred to the ecological emergency at times. However, the fact that the environment was not at the heart of the presidential campaign debates deserves highlight. Macron’s environment and energy proposals are not quite revolutionary. Indeed, he’s committed to continue the policy pursued by his predecectors, François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy.
The sentence he chose to summarize his ecological program is : « Ecological transition is a priority for today that affects every sector of economic and social life ». This is the challenge facing us in the 21st century.
On measures of his program
As we can read, his first goal is to end the fossil energy dependancy. This would entail the closure of coal-fired power plants or the increase of France’s carbon tax to € 100 / MT CO2 by 2030 (it was set to € 22 in 2016). There is also the proposed prohibition of the shale gas exploitation.
On the subject of renewable energies, Macron’s manifesto focuses on solar and wind power. He wants to simplify the administrative burden placed on these energies. He also plans to recenter research on energy storage and smart grids. Concerning nuclear, he would wait for the nuclear safety authority conclusions (around 2018) to take a decision.
Many were surprised by this manifesto aim of a 100% circular economy! This should prove a good way to create jobs and reduce waste. To achieve this goal, Macron’s team has provided some measures, such as 100% recycled plastic by 2025 or the fight against programmed obsolescence.
A manifesto criticized by environmentalists
All these measures reflect rules already set out in various European or French laws. They line up with François Hollande’s policy.
The previous President has faced criticism for his environmental manifesto. It was not sufficiently revolutionary. The ecological transition remained subordinated to the modernization of the economy.
For example, Emmanuel Macron was the only presidential candidate to support the EU-Canada trade and investment liberalization agreement (CETA), notwithstanding a recent report from the Ministry of the Environment confirms that is not compatible with the Paris Agreement on the climate.
Nicolas Hulot’s appointment as head of a state ministry
Since his election, NGOs have been calling for an expanded Environment Ministry. And their wish has seemingly been answered. Indeed, Nicolas Hulot was appointed to head a wide spanning Ministry on ecological and solidary transition. Up until now, he had always refused Ministries proposed to him. He was convinced by the exchanges he had with Macron. They both seem united in their will to go beyond traditional divides between political parties and to rely on the approval of France’s citizens.
This appointment partially responds to the concerns of those environmental NGOs and of the politicians who feared a pro-nuclear and anti-environmental policy.
It remains to be seen how much money will be allocated to his ministry’s budget.