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France will ban fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2040

France will 'ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040'

The Independent newspaper of the United Kingdom said Nicolas Hulot made the announcement as he unveiled a series of measures to make France a carbon neutral country by 2050. He added that the target would apply pressure to France's vehicle manufacturers but said the companies now are engaged in projects that "can fulfill that promise".

On Wednesday, Sweden's Volvo said it planned to phase out production of petrol-only cars from 2019, with all new models to be either electric or hybrids. Hulot also said France would stop using coal-burning power plants by 2022; they now account for about five percent of the country's electrical power needs.

Also, those goals generally refer to the end of new petrol auto sales, but Hulot is actually talking about a phase-out period starting now. From then on, every vehicle produced by the company would either be all-electric or hybrid.

Hulot, a former journalist and environmental activist, was newly appointed at the Minister of Ecological and Solidary Transition by the new French President Emmanuel Macron. France also plans to divide its greenhouse gas emissions by 4 by 2050 in hopes to become carbon neutral by that year.

These goals are part of France's efforts to help lead the battle against climate change, according to Hulot.

Other countries have floated the idea of banning cars powered by an internal combustion engine to meet air quality and climate change goals, but have not yet passed concrete targets.

France's new environment minister has announced a radical plan to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. India, the world's second most-populous country, is considering 2030.

Very recently, President Trump made the first steps to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement, a controversial decision that has distanced America from climate leaders. Norway has said it will stop selling gasoline and diesel cars by 2025, and Germany is aiming to have 1 million electric cars on its roads by 2020. At the moment, electric vehicle auto sales account for 1 percent of global auto sales.