July 6 (UPI) -- France will ban gas- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040, Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot announced Thursday.
Hulot, a former television presenter for wildlife programs, unveiled an ambitious agenda to make France carbon-neutral by 2050. He added that the target would apply pressure to France's vehicle manufacturers but said the companies currently are engaged in projects that "can fulfill that promise."
He cited Swedish car maker Volvo, which earlier this week announced it will switch to manufacturing exclusively electric or hybrid vehicles beginning in 2019.
Under the French government's five-year "climate plan," French drivers will be offered financial incentives to trade in older, gas- and diesel-powered cars for cleaner alternatives. Hulot also said France would stop using coal-burning power plants by 2022; they currently account for about five percent of the country's electrical power needs.
France will also restrict its use of palm oil and unsustainably grown soya to help reduce global deforestation.
The plans, which require parliamentary approval, are undertaken, Hulot said, "to demonstrate that fighting against climate change can lead to an improvement of French people's daily lives."
French President Emmanuel Macron promised that his country would be a leader in reducing climate change after the United States withdrew from the Paris climate accords on June 1. Macron's call to "Make the planet great again," a parody of U.S. President Donald Trump's slogan "Make America great again," included an invitation to U.S. climate scientists to work in France, The Telegraph reported.