Drivers know all too well that parking lots are hot, uncomfortable, and are never the right size. In France larger parking lots will now require shading in the form of solar panels, making the large swaths of asphalt a little more comfortable. The solar panels are projected to provide the equivalent of 10 nuclear power plants.
Imagine if a law like this was passed in North America – we wouldn’t need any other source of energy!
Starting July 1, 2023, smaller carparks that have between 80 and 400 spaces will have five years to be in compliance with the new measures. Carparks with more than 400 spaces have a shorter timeline: They will need to comply with the new measures within three years of this date, and at least half of the surface area of the parking lot will need to be covered in solar panels.
Car drivers take up way more road space than they need since the size of their vehicles are disproportionate to their usefulness. Smart countries aim to limit the number of single occupant vehicles on the road for this reason and to ensure that all people can easily get from one place to the next. Traffic is so bad in some places that countries, like France, are now paying people to give up on their car.
France is working hard to push urban drivers out of cars and towards smaller and more environmentally responsible forms of transportation. In large cities like Paris, reduction in traffic from a switch to bicycles and scooters is perhaps just as important to many residents as the environmental effects.
We recently covered the case of anelectric bicycle company that is switching from vans to cargo e-bikesto increase the number of electric bikes it could deliver each day. The company’s delivery vans were simply too slow in Paris traffic, and switching to cargo e-bikes will help ramp up deliveries by using smaller, quicker, and more efficient vehicles.
Flying isn’t so popular right now due to the pandemic and many airlines are financially hurting, and in France they are helping the Air France. Due to ineffectiveness in the private company the French government stepped in and doubled it’s stake with one key condition: the airline eliminates some of its routes. Short flights of 2.5 hours or less will no longer be permitted in France as the carbon output of one of those flights is 77 times that of a train. Train service in the country is good, but with the additional passenger load the service will improve with expansion.
Given how horrible plane travel is for the environment all of use should be grateful for France leading the way on this smart transportation policy.
The measures could affect travel between Paris and cities including Nantes, Lyon and Bordeaux.
The French government had faced calls to introduce even stricter rules.
France’s Citizens’ Convention on Climate, which was created by President Emmanuel Macron in 2019 and included 150 members of the public, had proposed scrapping plane journeys where train journeys of under four hours existed.
The French city of Dunkirk recently made a major decision to make all their public transit free to anyone. It’s worked really well and now people are hoping the idea spreads to other places in France. It’s noteworthy that the climate crisis wasn’t the driving factor behind the plan it was to improve the life of the citizens of Dunkirk. The residents are happier with less pollution and reliable transit while it has also improved commute times for workers.
More revealing than the simple increase is the way that the free buses are changing residentsâ€™ habits. In a town where a large majority of residents (about two-thirds) have typically depended on their cars to get around, half of the 2,000 passengers surveyed by researchers said they take the bus more or much more than before. Of those new users, 48 percent say they regularly use it instead of their cars. Some (approximately 5 percent of the total respondents) even said that they sold their car or decided against buying a second one because of the free buses.
For Damien CarÃªme, the mayor of Grande-Synthe (which neighbors Dunkirk), improving the lives of working-class residents, revitalising small cities and fighting climate change go hand in hand. Speaking in 2016, CarÃªme (of the Green party, Europe Ecologie les Verts), said he hoped Dunkirkâ€™s fare-free model could â€œmake the urban area a figurehead for industrial territories undergoing environmental transition.â€
Not to be outdone by other nations, France has announced that the country will eliminate use of coal for electricity by 2023. Yesterday we looked at Canada’s plan to phase out coal plants by 2030, which in Canada caused concern. In France, there’s little debate that we need to stop using coal in our power plants.
It’s fantastic to see so many nations stopping their reliance on coal and switching to renewable energy sources!
â€œWe need carbon neutrality by 2050,â€ the French President continued, promising that coal will no longer form part of France’s energy mix in six to seven yearsâ€™ time.
France is already a world leader in low-carbon energy. The country has invested heavily in nuclear power over the past few decades and now derives more than 75 per cent of its electricity from nuclear fission. It produces so much nuclear energy, in fact, that it exports much of it to nearby nations, making around Â£2.5 billion each year.