France’s parliament has approved a law banning all exploration and production of oil and natural gas by 2040 within the country and its overseas territories.
Under that law that passed a final vote on Tuesday, existing drilling permits will not be renewed and no new exploration licenses will be granted.
The French government claims the ban is a world first. However, it is largely symbolic since oil and gas produced in France accounts for just 1 percent of domestic consumption. The rest is imported.
Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot says the law shows “current generations can take care of future generations.”
The ban is part of a larger plan to wean the French economy from fossil fuels and to fulfill France’s commitments under the Paris climate agreement to curb global warming.
France extracts the equivalent of about 815,000 tonnes of oil per year — an amount produced in a few hours by Saudi Arabia.
However, its President, Emmanuel Macron, said he wants France to take the lead as a major world economy switching away from fossil fuels — and the nuclear industry — into renewable sources.
According to AFP, his government plans to stop the sale of diesel and petrol engine cars by 2040 as well.