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What’s Behind The Abrupt Departure Of France’s Environment Minister?

France’s Environment Minister, Nicolas Hulot, is calling it quits, citing an “accumulation of disappointments” in his government with regards to meeting climate change goals, Hulot explained in on live radio broadcast.

Hulot’s bold move shines a light on French President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts—or lack thereof—to combat climate change, after the government under Macron relaxed hunting laws in the country. The relaxation of those laws may garner favor for Macron from rural voters, and appeals to France’s powerful hunting lobby.

Hulot and Macron together had met with the hunting lobby to discuss the proposed overhaul on Monday, which would make it easier for hunters to obtain hunting licenses and includes more species that can be lawfully killed.

Speaking about the country’s efforts to maintain biodiversity and strides toward reaching stated climate goals, Hulot referred to the measures as merely “mini steps” during the radio broadcast that rung in the end of his government career. “I can’t lie to myself anymore,” Hulot added.

Despite Hulot’s public denouncement of France’s climate change efforts, electricity generation from renewable and nuclear power sources in France jumped in June, squeezing out fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas—France’s grid operator RTE said earlier this month.

In what many considered a toothless grand gesture, French legislature passed a law late last year that prohibited all oil and gas exploration and production within its borders and territories by 2040, which is when some are expecting oil to reach its peak demand. The law called for no new licenses to be issued or renewed for the exploration of oil and gas.

Hulot’s abrupt departure blindsided the government, including Macron, who was on a trip to Denmark at the time, and may upset Macron’s rather tenuous relationship with both the right and the left, according to the Guardian.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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