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French Greens prepare for Paris climate change conference

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French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius poses in front of the Paris 2015 climate change conference logo in his office in Paris, France, May 22, 2015, after an interview with Reuters. Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

France's Green Party (EELV) has kicked off a nationwide campaign to galvanise public opinion in the fight against global warming. With two new websites and action days planned, the Greens are urging ordinary citizens to get involved. The move follows France’s adoption Tuesday of a long-delayed energy transition bill and comes ahead of crunch climate talks in Paris in December.
 


The future is bright, the future is green ... that's at least what France is hoping for in this year's crucial climate talks in Paris.

The outcome could determine whether the world avoids the worst ravages of global warming.

And to ensure that this important diplomatic event actually delivers a binding agreement for limiting greenhouse gas emissions to below 2°C - the internationally set benchmark for avoiding dangerous levels of climate change - a number of initiatives are already being put in place.

On Tuesday France's National Assembly voted in a much-delayed energy-transition bill, putting forward a range of ecofriendly measures from limiting food waste to installing gas meters, all in a bid to protect the environment.

French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal hailed the bill as "exemplary" but the Green Party disagrees.

"Sadly France is not ready yet," Julien Bayou, spokesperson for the Green Party, told RFI. "The government needs to implement the recommendations of this bill and encourage the public to change its behaviour to ensure a real energy transition."

The Greens are urging the public to adopt more energy-efficient strategies such as riding their bikes, switching their energy service provider to one that provides renewable energy and opting for organic products.

"Going greeen is the future and it doesn't have to cost extra money," Bayou added in reference to a new report by the French Environmental agency Ademe, which claims that France can move away from coal-fired power to a mix of wind, solar and hydraulic energy by 2050.

The French government has backed down on key green policies in the past, such as a controversial ecotax, meant to tax heavy vehicles.

But this time President François Hollande is under pressure to ensure that December’s climate conference is a success, unlike the 2009 Copenhagen summit.

Senior officials from almost 200 nations will meet from 30 November to 11 December in Paris to finalise an agreement to limit global warming.

If gas emissions are not drastically cut to below 2°C, climate change could become irreversible. The future of the planet and, to a large extent Hollande's own political career, is hinging on these talks and the necessity for a binding climate agreement at the end of them.