Wednesday, March 19, 2014

France Restricts Both GMOs and Cars: Vivre La France!

In an ecological one two combination France has dealt punishing blows to both genetically modified foods and fossil fuel powered cars. France is making an environmental stand by challenging genetically modified foods (GMOs) and auto emissions. In a brazen move the country has issued a decree that bars Monsanto's genetically modified maize known as MON 810. They are also restricting cars from entering Paris.

The French government's position is that GMOs present environmental risks, however this is not close to being a done deal. What makes the banning of Monsanto so bold is the fact that similar efforts have been struck down by French courts twice. To make matters worse, MON 810 is currently the only variety of maize authorized for use in the EU.

Longstanding differences between EU countries resurfaced in February when they failed to agree on whether or not to approve another GM maize variety, Pioneer 1507, developed by DuPont and Dow Chemical. France would like to see the EU change its stance on GMOs including restricting MON 810 and Pioneer 1507.

To help combat the smog problem in Paris, France has introduced driving restrictions that will prevent cars from entering the city on alternate days. These new rules are important because the country's diesel fuel subsidies have helped to put a lot of diesel burning engines on French roads. According to research from UC Berkeley, diesel fuel is responsible for the lions share of smog pollution. Specifically secondary organic aerosol (SOA) which contributes to respiratory problems and poor air quality.

Drivers are only permitted to use their cars on alternate days, which in theory should reduce the number of vehicles on Paris streets by one half. The move comes in concert with free public transport, including cycle and electric car-sharing schemes.

The tandem of less cars and fewer GMOs is a combination that is being heralded by environmentalists all around the world.

Obama and Hollande Call for Climate Action 
French Leadership: Nuclear, Fossil Fuels and GHGs 
French Support for Renewable Energy

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