France blows hot and cold on renewable energy


As France prepares to host the UN Climate Change Conference a year from now, it is trying to put its own house in order and take a lead on cutting carbon dioxide emissions. President François Hollande has called for the country to champion the environmental cause, and a new law on switching to clean energy is being enacted. But when it comes to renewable energies France is lagging woefully behind other countries, apart from its big hydroelectric dams that were built decades ago. As Mediapart's environment correspondent Jade Lindgaard reports, this is largely because of the complex rules and perverse subsidies that throttle solar and wind power while benefiting fossil fuels.

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President François Hollande wants France to take the lead in the transition to green energy. He told an environmental conference in Paris at the end of November that the country should now champion “environmental rights” in the same way it has been a beacon for human rights. The meeting, called to set a French road map for this transition to clean energy, was a prelude to the major United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris in a year's time. “We cannot be convincing if we have not ourselves committed to strong action,” Hollande pointed out in his opening speech.