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France to ban sale of gas cars in favor of electric to meet Paris climate goals

Workers stand next to cars at the French car manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroen in Aulnay-sous-Bois, north of Paris.
Workers stand next to cars at the French car manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroen in Aulnay-sous-Bois, north of Paris. AP

France will no longer sell gas and diesel vehicles after 2040 to help the country meet its goals under the Paris climate agreement, the country’s ecology minister announced Thursday.

Nicolas Hulot said such a move is a “public health issue” due to pollution in many French cities, according to the Telegraph.

“The solutions are there, our own makers have in their boxes the means to fulfill this promise,” Hulot said. He called it a “veritable revolution.”

French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to “make the planet great again” after President Donald Trump announce that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. That accord, reached in 2015 with support from the Obama administration, set ambitious goals to reduce emissions around the globe. Only Syria and Nicaragua did not sign it.

Hulot called the Trump administration’s stance on the issue a “brutal attitude” but indicated there were still American partners, like non-governmental organizations, France could work with on climate issues.

France will offer incentives for people to replace old vehicles with cleaner models.

“The government will offer each French person a bonus to replace their diesel car dating before 1997 or petrol from before 2001 by a new or second-hand vehicle,” Hulot said.

The ecology minister also announced France will ban any new project using petrol, gas, coal and shale oil by 2040. Hulot said the country hopes to be carbon neutral by 2050.

According to Agence-France Press, Swedish automaker Volvo announced Wednesday that after 2019, it will only make electric and hybrid vehicles. It is the first major car maker to stop manufacturing vehicles that run on gas.

Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said the decision “marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

France has Europe’s second-largest car industry. Hulot argued that Renault and Peugeot-Citroen could handle the change to hybrid and electric vehicles.

Currently in France, only 1.2 percent of new vehicles are electric. Hybrid vehicles have a slightly higher market share at 3.5 percent. Gas and diesel cars are 95.2 percent of the market.

Other countries have also moved to reduce emissions by restricting gas vehicles. Norway aims to end sales of gas and diesel vehicles by 2025. India wants all cars to be electric by 2030. Germany is attempting to have one million electric cars on its roads by 2020.

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