France's Green Future
As part of the Paris Agreement, French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot has announced a series of measures to make France a carbon neutral and more sustainable country by 2050. Most prominent among the goals are his plan to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles in the country by 2040, ceasing the use of coal to produce energy by 2022, and reducing the country's nuclear usage from 75 percent to 50 percent.
In addition, Hulot intends to start a campaign against unsustainably sourced goods by no longer importing palm oil and soya farmed in ways that contribute to deforestation. ClientEarth CEO James Thornton established France as a progenitor that could start a wider trend, telling the Independent:
“This is a huge statement of intent from the French government and an example of how we’re likely to see exponential change in the coming years as governments grapple with the necessary changes we have to make for air quality and our climate."
A Planet is Saved by Degrees
France is one of many European countries that have recently announced plans to reduce emissions and change the lifestyles of their citizens to become more environmentally friendly. Recently, Norway made waves when they announced that they would ban the use of oil to heat homes by 2020. Sweden, taking a similar road as France, has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2045.
Changes are not just being made on a national level, though: industry leaders are also announcing gambits to be more green. Most notably, Volvo just announced they will only produce electric vehicles from 2019 onwards. Tesla, meanwhile, is continuing its crusade to bring electric cars to the masses with the Model 3 — the first models of which are already in production.
A common argument against climate change is that a single country or industry's contribution is but one "drop in the ocean." But the ocean is made of drops, and it is only through country by country and company by company changes that we'll fight to save our planet from the damage we're responsible for.