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7/16/2017 by mdc
Dr. Conca reports that the French environment and energy minister, Nicolas Hulot, announced that the country would keep the previous President to promise to reduce the amount of nuclear energy from 75% to 50% of the French electricity generation, and replace it with wind and solar energy as part of a plan to fight global warming. But earlier in May, candidate Macron said he would delay this nuclear phaseout.

The plan to phase out nuclear plants actually predates Macron, stemming from a political pact made by former French President, François Hollande, during the 2012 election that cemented his alliance with the anti-nuclear Green party. So in this same vein, many see the Macron appointment of Hulot, a dedicated left anti-nuclear politician, as a move to appease the Green party, particularly to serve as a foil for the Macron appointment of Edouard Philippe as Prime Minister. Philippe is from the right-wing party Les Republicains, and worked for the French nuclear company Areva.

Macron has assembled an amazingly diverse government with an unprecedented mix of politicians from the left, right and center, but it may take some fancy French footwork to make them get along. Of 19 ministers and 4 junior ministers, including the Prime Minister, 3 are from the right, 3 from the center, 7 from the left and 11 are unaffiliated.

But energy and environmental experts, including the leading climate scientists in the world, were quick to point out that the Hulot plan is not well-thought out. Phasing out nuclear power at all would actually increase carbon emissions, hurt the French economy and undermine the French plan to address climate change.

This does not make sense, says Dr. Jeff Terry, a professor of nuclear physics at the Illinois Institute of Technology. They want to replace baseload, reliable, low-carbon energy with low carbon energy that requires back-up 65% to 85% of the time. Everywhere that nuclear is closed it gets replaced by natural gas.

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