French President Francois Hollande announced that France will phase out coal power plants by 2023. He made the announcement during a keynote address at the annual United Nations World Climate Change Conference, which took place last week in Marrakech, Morocco.
France is already a leader in clean energy. It currently generates just four percent of its power from coal. Around 75 percent comes from nuclear power plants. It generates so much nuclear power that it exports it to nearby nations, bringing in about $3.2 billion annually.
The mood at the conference was described as “defiant” in the wake of the election of President-elect Donald Trump. Hollande has not been shy with his dislike for Trump. He publicly stated that Trump’s election opened up a “period of uncertainty.” Prior to Trump’s election, Hollande said that his “excesses make you want to retch.”
However, Hollande was full of praise for President Obama. “The role played by Barack Obama was crucial in achieving the Paris agreement,” Hollande said in his address. He then added, in what many have perceived as a shot at Trump, that signing on to the treaty is “irreversible.”
Other countries present recommitted to their pledges made during the Paris Accord. The United Kingdom plans to shut down all its coal-fired power plants by 2025, in favor of natural gas. Germany plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 95 percent by 2050.