Emmanuel Macron appears to have missed the mark completely.
His various announcements on Tuesday on the future orientation of government energy and ecology policy have done little to satisfy the demands of those protesting against fuel price increases, nor have the president’s proposals met with much political approval.
Laurent Wauquiez, for example, the leader of the right-wing Republicans party, has called for a referendum on the whole question of energy and ecology.
Wauquiez says you can’t save the planet by increasing taxes.
Ségolène Royal, the former ecology minister, has described Macron’s position as a major slow-down. And it comes, she says, at precisely the moment when governments need to speed up their efforts to limit the impact of global warming.
Royal claims that Macron’s announcement of the closure of France’s four remaining coal-fired electricity generating stations was already in her 2015 law on the so-called energy transition. She says she can’t find anything new in Tuesday’s presidential presentation.
Ségolène Royal also says the decision to push back the reduction of French dependence on the nuclear sector by a further ten years is a negative sign, and is an indication of the government’s failure to believe in the potential of renewable energy or in the impact of improved energy efficiency.
The additional ten-year delay is, she says, going to slow down the whole effort to drive the renewable energy sector to replace nuclear power.
Royal points out that, by promising to begin closing French nuclear reactors from 2027, President Macron has thus ensured that no closure will take place while he holds the top job, even if he’s re-elected for a second term.
Macron did say he’s going to close the two reactors at Fessenheim in north-eastern France in 2020, well inside his first five-year term. But Ségolène Royal points out that those closures were already signed off under the François Hollande presidency.
She’s hoping that the parliamentary debate on the revision of her 2015 law will re-balance what is, as it stands, in her view, a disappointingly inefficient set of proposals.