October 23, 2014

France's National Assembly Approves Energy Transition Law

The lower house of French parliament, the National Assembly, passed on Tuesday an energy transition bill that aimed at reducing nuclear use and promoting renewable use.

Submitted by Segolene Royal, Energy Minister and ex-partner of French President Francois Hollande, the text was approved by 314 lawmakers against 219 unfavorable votes.

The law paves the way for the government to deliver its promise to cut the share of nuclear energy in France's electricity production to 50 percent by 2025 from 75 percent currently and trim power consumption by 50 percent by 2050.

In addition, the bill simplified measures to promote the use of renewable energy to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 30 percent and emissions of greenhouse gases by 40 percent by 2030.

The law also bans non-recyclable plastic bags available in shops from 2016 and plastic kitchenware from 2020. Offenders risk a fine of 30,000 euros (37,920 U.S. dollars) and two years in jail.

"It's a new model of development ... that will enable our country to take full advantage of its assets to become a leading eco-friendly power," Royal said after winning lawmakers' support.

However, Christian Jacob, head of conservative UMP party at the National Assembly saw the other face of the coin and considered the text a guarantee offered to the Greens and the left wing to regain support. "(The) law does not take into account the energy reality," he added.

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