Macron follows Sunak's lead: France backpedals on gas boiler ban as President buries green pledges


Emmanuel Macron has backpedaled on imposing a ban on gas boilers in Franc

Millie Cooke

By Millie Cooke

Published: 26/09/2023

- 11:44

Updated: 26/09/2023

- 11:53

The French President launched a bid to boost the sale of heat pumps instead, after ruling out a blanket ban on gas boilers

Emmanuel Macron has backpedalled on imposing a ban on gas boilers in France - but has launched an attempt to boost the sale of heat pumps across France.

This comes just days after Rishi Sunak unveiled his new, watered-down approach to reaching net zero.

Macron confirmed he wouldn't ban gas boilers, telling France 2: "We cannot leave our compatriots, particularly in the most rural areas, without a solution".

But the announcement was buried by a pledge to boost the rollout of heat pumps, with the French President saying they are "a fabulous lever for substitution, with much lower energy consumption and emissions".

Heat pumps can both heat and cool air and are increasingly seen as a climate-friendly alternative to fossil fuel heating systems such as gas boilers, as well as air conditioning.

France has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 compared to their 1990 levels, meaning France has to move "twice as fast" to tackle climate change, Macron said.

The EU as a whole is on the brink of backpedaling on its bloc-wide ban on gas boilers amid outrage across Europe.

While a ban on gas boilers is seen as one that could significantly contribute to meeting climate change targets, it is also politically risky as it could have the effect of tipping moderate voters towards the right.

The EU is considering a ban on the sale of stand-alone fossil-fuel-powered boilers from 2029.

Germany was forced to row back on their support for the plan in the wake of massive government infighting and public outcries.

The backlash coincided with a boost in popularity for far-right party AfD.

On Friday, protestors in Sweden took to the streets after the Government officially abandoned its climate targets for 2030 and decided new tax cuts for fossil fuels.

France's decision on gas boilers comes just days after Sunak's major intervention on net zero.

The PM used a speech last Wednesday to promise to bring an end to "heavy-handed policies", including taxes on eating meat, taxes to discourage flying and forcing people into paying for expensive insulation.

The speech saw him herald a new approach to tackling climate change, warning: "We risk losing the consent of the British people” for net zero policies.



The PM used a speech last Wednesday to promise to bring an end to "heavy-handed policies"


He said the UK is "proud to be a world leader in reaching net zero by 2050 - but we simply won't achieve it until we change".

The Prime Minister said the new approach will be "more realistic" and "ease the burden" on families.

He said: "In a democracy, this is the only realistic path to net zero.

"Consent, not imposition. That's how we'll turn the challenge of net zero into the greatest opportunity and the greatest achievement of our lifetime."

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