French Minister of the Environment Ségolène Royal announced today that energy giant Engie will stop investing in coal. Engie – formerly GDF Suez – later confirmed that it will not invest in any new coal projects, adding that existing contracts may still be honored. Engie’s dirty energy investments were proving to be a major embarrassment to the French government as the company is a sponsor of the upcoming United Nations climate talks, which Paris will host.
The announcement represents a victory for communities affected by Engie’s operations, supported by civil society organizations, including Friends of the Earth (FoE) France, who have worked tirelessly against Engie’s dirty energy investments.
FoE France was quick to note that the fight is far from over. FoE France wants a total coal phase-out and for existing contracts to be scrapped. It is not enough to simply sell the assets, dirty energy power plants must be closed.
“We welcome this move by the environment minister and Engie, but to meaningfully address the climate crisis we need all companies to move in this direction immediately,” said Malika Peyraut, energy campaigner with FoE France. “Today’s announcement is people power at work. We have supported grassroots communities resisting dirty energy and drawn powerful international solidarity to this camapaign. We will keep this momentum building until we see an end to dirty fossil fuel and nuclear energy.”
A video by Young Friends of the Earth France/ Jeunes Amis de la Terre France demanding that Engie change its tune went viral on social media last week, adding to the chorus of voices insisting that Engie, a sponsor of the upcoming Paris climate talks, stop its climate wrecking investments.
Friends of the Earth International maintains that the way we produce, distribute and consume energy is unsustainable, unjust and harming communities, workers, the environment and the climate.
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