France is joining a growing movement to force the extinction of vehicles that run on fossil fuels, saying on Thursday that it would aim to end the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by 2040. The country will also stop issuing new oil and gas exploration permits this year, and stop using coal to produce electricity by 2022.
Announcement was made a day after the automaker Volvo said it would phase out the internal combustion engine and during a visit to Europe by President Trump. This was an expression of European leaders’ determination to pursue an environmental agenda despite Mr. Trump’s repudiation of the Paris agreement on climate change.
While electric cars still only amount to a sliver of the market, sales have been growing fast. Renault sold 17,000 of its battery powered Zoe compact cars in the first six months of 2017, almost as many as in all of 2016.
The target is less ambitious than ones set by countries like Norway and India. Still, coming from a major car-producing country, France’s declaration gave additional momentum to efforts to fight climate change and urban smog by promoting the use of electric cars.
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