Nature has always been unpredictable but thanks to human activity, it has become chaotic and anarchic to say the least in recent years. From hurricane Harvey, to change in El Nino phenomena to excessive flooding in Bangladesh and India, to forest fires all over the west coast of North America, climate change is real and it is disastrous.
Also, recent times have seen unprecedented actions on climate change. The Trump administration brought the world to its knees by pulling out of the Paris Climate Convention. On the brighter side, France under Macron might be positioning itself to be one of the first to do something incredible.
In such troubling times of rising water levels and lesser and lesser polar ice, what responsible governments should be doing is making sure countries don’t dig deeper into their water graves.
Today, France (including overseas territories) is positioning itself to become the first country to ban all exploration permits and renewals for conventional fuels as well as banning the conversion of exploration permits into production permits.
Fossil fuels (Coal, petroleum and natural gas), the usage of, has successfully raised world temperatures by 2 degrees Centigrade. Now it is only rational that governments put an end to the exploration of such harmful energy sources beyond their needs and instead explore renewable and non-polluting sources of energy.
In the legislation that will be debated in October, the French government is taking climate action to another level. They are recognizing that climate leadership in the 21st century is about more than reducing emissions, pricing carbon and improving efficiency. It must also be about keeping fossil fuels that the climate cannot afford in the ground.
Though this might sound earth-shattering as a positive piece of news, the law might not be perfect, however. For example in defining ‘unconventional’ sources of energy, it fails to include sources like coal-bed methane. Also, it fails to take away licenses of ongoing explorative ventures that haven’t seen investments.
Being one of the richer nations in the Western world, however, this is a precedent-setting move. This is because France itself is not very rich in its reserves of oil and coal and faces constant internal pressure to reduce imports and develop the use of its own internal resources.
With the Paris Climate Accord being of high consequence, the French government is living up to its name of being a pioneer in the fight against climate change.
This is the cutting edge of climate action, and with governments the world over being confronted with incredible people power, relentless climate impacts, and defining science, it shouldn’t be long before more join the enlightened list of countries that understand where we must go.