French President Emmanuel Macron made global warming a central part of his World Economic Forum speech on Wednesday in Davos, pledging to close all of his country’s coal-fired power plants by 2021.
Macron’s anti-coal pledge comes as Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot announced France failed to meet its 2016 global warming target to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 447 million metric tons.
Hulot said France would revise its global warming targets to better align with its Paris climate accord commitment to go “carbon neutral” by 2050, Reuters reported. Macron has been one of the most vocal supporters of the Paris climate accord, which went into effect in 2016.
We will close all our coal fired power stations by 2021, says @EmmanuelMacron, as he outlines a raft of measures to ensure France remains competitive, innovative and keeps fighting climate change. #wef18
— World Economic Forum (@Davos) January 24, 2018
Macron’s goal of closing all coal plants by 2021 is only somewhat more aggressive than his predecessor President Francois Hollande’s goal of plant closures by 2023. France gets 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear power plants, and only one percent comes from coal.
In fact, France only has three power plants that burn coal, so meeting Macron’s goal probably won’t be that hard. On the other hand, France relied on British coal plants to make up for offline nuclear capacity when temperatures dropped in November.
One factor that could complicate Macron’s decarbonization plan is a government push to close nuclear power plants, which don’t emit carbon dioxide.
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