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 user 2007-10-25 at 10:48:00 am Views: 33
  • #18948

    France Cleans Up in Green Push
    oct 07  – Stamping camembert with a “carbon footprint” rating. Charging
    Parisians for the empty Bordeaux bottles they discard. Banning high
    speeds through the pasture-lined highways of the Loire Valley.France is
    trying to clean up its act, readying measures this week aimed at
    reversing its image as environmental laggard and making it a pioneer in
    the fight against global warming  and other threats to the Earth’s
    well-being.Yet environmental groups fear the measures, to be finalized
    at a conference Wednesday and Thursday, will be too watered down to
    make a difference in France’s carbon emissions and have little impact
    on worldwide efforts to reduce the pollution that is warming the planet.

    President Nicolas Sarkozy isn’t letting those fears slow his push to raise France’s eco-profile.
    put global warming high on his agenda after his election in May,
    creating Europe’s most powerful environment ministry and berating the
    United States for its resistance to emissions cuts. At the United
    Nations, Sarkozy urged developed countries and major polluters to
    commit to a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050.Sarkozy’s
    friendly relations with President Bush  have had no apparent effect on
    U.S. climate policy, but the French president is reaching out to other
    Americans, too: Al Gore, who won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for his
    work against global warming, will be at Sarkozy’s side at this week’s
    conference in Paris, Sarkozy’s office said.At twilight Tuesday, the
    Eiffel Tower’s twinkling lights went out for five minutes – along with
    lights at the Elysee presidential palace, the prime minister’s office
    and other sites – to call attention to energy consumption and its
    consequences.The measures to be announced Thursday came out of three
    months of talks among activists, farmers, businesses and government
    officials that have been fraught with friction.They made no progress on
    nuclear energy – which Sarkozy champions and environmental groups
    reject – or on biofuels, the junior minister for ecology, Nathalie
    Kosciusko-Morizet said in an interview.

    Still, she insisted the conference was a crucial first step.
    want to see what we can do ourselves, with the idea to be exemplary, to
    be pioneers,” she said in an interview. “We think that there are new
    markets, a new economy” to be tapped in making the French more
    environmentally conscious, she added.Ideas emerging include stickers on
    food packaging indicating how much carbon dioxide was emitted in making
    the product, lowering speed limits on roads throughout France to
    encourage fuel efficiency, charging households per pound of garbage
    they produce, charging money to drive in big cities, requiring
    environmentally “clean” cafeteria food and refitting historic mansions
    to make them more energy efficient.

    Greenpeace International
    director Gerd Liepold was unimpressed.”There’s nothing groundbreaking
    in this,” he said. “What is happening in France is what happened in
    other European countries 10, 15 years ago.”France is more dependent on
    nuclear energy than any other nation and falls behind several European
    neighbors in recycling, energy conservation and cleaning up
    agriculture. France was later than other developed nations in banning
    use of asbestos, and concerns are mounting lately about the long-term
    health risks.Genetically modified crops are another sensitive topic in
    this country that values its agriculture. The conference may produce a
    temporary freeze on them, but activists say that is not enough.Yannick
    Jadot of Greenpeace France said Tuesday that if the conference doesn’t
    lead to a long-term ban on genetically modified crops, it will be a
    “total failure.”Jim Leape, director of the World Wildlife Federation,
    urged Sarkozy to get the European Union  to take a strong stance on
    emissions cuts ahead of crucial global warming talks in Bali in
    December.”France needs to lead … industrialized countries to stand up
    to this challenge. President Sarkozy’s peers will be paying attention,”
    he said.