Macron presents French-style environmental policy

French President Emmanuel Macron this week presented his long-awaited climate plan. The national strategy is intended to make the country less dependent on foreign energy sources and be socially equitable. Commentators are at odds as to whether Macron has hit the nail on the head.

Libération (FR) /

Climate protection on the backburner

The French president has had better ideas for saving nature, economist Maxime Combes criticises in Libération:

“Eliminating unnecessary consumption, reducing mobility and heating requirements, providing sustainable, repairable goods without planned obsolescence, and pooling equipment, all of which are at the heart of a policy of austerity, are disappearing below the radar. However, transforming those economic sectors that are most damaging to the climate, biodiversity and water, such as agriculture, petrochemicals, the car industry, aviation and even mass tourism, will require more than a state that sees itself only as a dispensary for subsidies and tax exemptions.”

Maxime Combes
Le Monde (FR) /

Green transition must not be too costly

Environmental protection must be introduced cautiously, stresses economist Christian Gollier in Le Monde:

“In this general utopia of a happy green transition, it would be suicidal to talk of environmental austerity, abstinence and sacrifice. In the UK, the recent voter rebellion in the face of unpalatable environmental policies has prompted the prime minister to scale down his government’s climate targets. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s talks with the parties on 18 September illustrate this phenomenon, as most parties agree that the green turnaround must not affect household purchasing power.”

Christian Gollier
De Standaard (BE) /

Macron entering far-right territory

The French president wants to save his political career as well as the climate, De Standaard drily observes:

“It’s clear that Macron doesn’t want to end up in another yellow vests scenario. ... By positioning himself this way, Macron is clearly also aiming to cut the ground from under the far right’s feet. ... By focusing on industrialisation and sovereignty, by paying a lot of attention to the regions, the farmers and the lower classes, and by promising to rein in electricity prices, Macron is entering Le Pen’s territory.”

Jolien De Bouw