October 2, 2015

French government grants new hydraulic permits as COP21 approaches

PARIS–Last week, Ségolène Royal, French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, and Emmanuel Macron, French Minister of Economy, granted three new licenses to explore for oil and gas while also extending two other permits until the end of 2018. The licenses will allow for the expansion of unconventional oil and gas development, despite a law prohibiting hydraulic fracturing in France.

It is disappointing to see the French government encouraging further investments in fossil fuels ahead of the UN climate talks taking place in Paris later this year. The world is counting on the talks to send a clear signal that society must move away from fossil fuels and towards 100% renewable energy.

This decision is in total contradiction with the scientific arguments which unequivocally prove that a meaningful agreement means that 80% of the world’s proven fossil fuel reserves have to remain unused. Ironically, this has been clearly articulated by François Hollande himself last July.[1]

“By delivering those new permits, the government is doing exactly the contrary of what is needed to shift toward a low-carbon economy. Today, for each euro spent in renewable energy, more than four are spent in fossil fuels. There is real urgency to change this investment paradigm. We have to divest from fossil fuels and invest in solutions. Divestment is a powerful way to help drive success in Paris: it demonstrates public demand for immediate action.” said Nicolas Haeringer, campaigner for 350.org in France.

Inconsistencies between words and actions undermine the credibility of leadership. The decision to allow new fracking permits in France contradicts President Hollande’s assertion that he is doing everything possible to limit global warming to below 2°C,” said Hoda Baraka, Global Communications Manager for 350.org.

A coalition of French organisations are calling on the government to cancel the permits issued and put an end to the exploration of fossil fuels.




[1] François Hollande allocution at the Interfaith Summit, July 2015

[2] The divestment movement is challenging institutions, individuals and governments to show climate leadership and align their investments with their values by divesting from fossil fuels ahead of the COP21 Climate Summit in Paris. For more information visit gofossilfree.org/paris/