Macron meets Schwarzenegger and vows to stop oil and gas licences

In a dig at Trump’s climate change inaction, French president welcomes the green campaigner and says there will be ‘no new exploration licences’.

The new French government has sought to further burnish its green credentials with the announcement it is to stop granting licences for new oil and gas exploration.

In his first major intervention since Emmanuel Macron’s election victory, the ecological transition minister, Nicolas Hulot, told the broadcaster BFMTV there would be “no new exploration licences for hydrocarbons”.

Hulot said the government would extend Macron’s promised moratorium on fracking projects to cover all oil and gas exploration. He also hinted that the government would increase taxes on diesel and look to streamline decision-making on environmental issues so they could be made “faster”.

Hulot faces a daunting in-tray to deliver on Macron’s wide-ranging environmental manifesto, which promised a sharp increase in renewables’ investment, a huge renovation programme to improve the efficiency of French homes, and an acceleration of the deployment of zero-emission vehicles.

The comments came as Hulot and Macron met the former Californian governor and climate change campaigner Arnold Schwarzenegger to discuss plans for a new global pact to give people a mechanism for securing environmental justice.

In a short video posted on Twitter, both Macron and Schwarzenegger aimed a swipe at President Trump as they vowed to work together to “make the planet great again”.

Macron said a new pact that builds on international human right legislation could help “move on to a new stage after the Paris accord”. The new pact could be presented to the UN as early as this September, Macron said.

The proposals were backed by the former French foreign minister and the chair of the Paris summit, Laurent Fabius. “We already have two international [human rights] pacts … The idea is to create a third, for a third generation of rights – environmental rights,” he said.

Schwarzenegger said support for the proposals should cross political lines. “It is absolutely imperative that we not make it a political issue. This is not the right versus the left because there is no liberal air or conservative air. We all breathe the same air. There is no liberal water or conservative water, we all drink the same water.”

The proposed  covenants  would build on the UN’s earlier human rights covenants covering, social, economic, and cultural rights, and civil and political rights.

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