In the midst of controversy over fuels, the government just inherited a file that would do it well, as it illustrates the problems of politicians in managing contradictory orders: ecology, employment, purchasing power.
The National Assembly narrowly adopted the modification of the palm oil-free modem from the list of biofuels and related tax incentives and incentives. The decision that caused problems in the Republic in motion. The measure was adopted by 22 votes in favor. 20. All opposition groups gathered on the MoDem, which created this amendment, as well as 5 members of the majority.
Many opposition MPs were defending this amendment. "In two weeks we have been struggling to explain why we have made the transition to energy, why we add carbon tax, why we increase the tax on diesel and if we want pure fuel, palm oil in France (…) Palm oil is more harmful to gasoline, "said Bruno Millienne, elected MoDem Yvelines. "In order to promote the use of palm oil, the deforestation is continuing," said Insoumis leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
It must be said that it is the subject of a debate. A month ago, the National Assembly retained a tax advantage for palm oil biofuels. This time the Government's opinion was respected. Gérald Darmanin, Minister of Public Accounts, then carried out a work that resulted in the fate of 300 workers of the entire La Mède biorefinery in Bouches-du-Rhone. The site is expected to start in the first quarter of 2019. It will now refinance fuel from plant materials, especially palm oil. For the Minister without a tax advantage, these jobs would be compromised. Adopting a change without palm oil from the list of biofuels is a search.
The position of the government has been largely criticized by members of all kinds who have condemned the rule of generosity on Total. Bruno Millienne, MoDem's deputy, stressed in particular that "it's a bit hard to understand that we will finally give Totalu primeur against our French sectors." François-Michel Lambert, a former LREM and a member of the new Liberty and Territories group, accused him of "immense majesty" for society. "What I do not understand is that on behalf of Total (…) we are sacrificing the whole beet industry", he also regretted Jean-Louis Bricout from the Socialist Party. Mathilde Panot, from France Insoumise, promised that the economy had an edge over the "general interest of people".
The tablet also tries to reach environmental advocates. Greenpeace responded to this decision in a statement: "The assessment of nearly one year of government's work to curb the deforestation imported into France is currently only the opening of the city of Mede, which will increase the French imports of Palm oil to almost 64%. To Elysee by the voice of Gerald Darmanin refers to the interests of the media place in order to justify the rejection of the amendment, proves that it is not the industrial policy of this country, but the larger Emmanuel Macron group as unscrupulous as Total. (…) It is now impossible to give credibility to the government's word about the environment. "
The government is sitting between two chairs, industry and ecology. His position on palm oil is contrary to his own ecological obligations. The climate plan, announced by Nicolas Hulot in July 2017, envisaged "an end to the import of products contributing to deforestation in France". The government is also in breach of Aichi Target, the new "Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020" for the planet adopted in October 2010 and ratified by France. One of the objectives is to eliminate tax incentives that are harmful to ecological diversity.
New measures to combat deforestation
Also this week, the government has announced its strategy to combat endangered imports for world forests. Assistance to producer countries, a new label, a communication campaign: the goal is to reduce deforestation by 2030 due to the import of unsustainable agricultural or forestry products.
If CEO WWF France Pascal Canfin welcomed a "good work plan", Greenpeace considered insufficient measures. The organization is convinced that "the government's noisy progress will not replace Total's approval to import 550,000 tonnes of palm oil per year for its La Mède biorefinery, nor its blocking the removal of a tax advantage for palm oil agrofuels." As well before food, they are agrofuels that absorb a large part of palm oil.
Otherwise, the Ministry of Ecological Transition tried to calm down, and said that Total would have to review its supply channels. The group will start a dialogue on the replacement of domestic production for the import and development of second generation fuels. Together, it has already pledged to increase its share of non-oil oil supplies from 25% to 50%.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, between 1990 and 2015, the world lost 129 million hectares of forest between 1990 and 2015. This is an 8-fold French forest. Unfortunately, responsible for 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions and loss of species. One third would be charged to the countries of the European Union. According to WWF, only in the last five years, France has helped deforestation of 5.1 million hectares, including imports of soya, leather and palm oil.
However, the government inherited a file that failed, and the advantage of which was maintaining jobs at "any price". In order to avoid this business, without sacrificing 300 jobs, while Total would be required to pursue fuel prices, it should be handled in its sole discretion. Members of the European Parliament decided differently