French President Emmanuel Macron pledged € 15 billion in new funding on Monday to accelerate the transition to a greener economy, a day after the Greens lost their party and took control of major cities in local elections.
Macron said he would go faster in environmentally friendly decision-making and that he was ready to make a referendum to revise the constitution to include climate targets if Parliament allows it.
He responded to suggestions from a Citizens Climate Council when the green sweeping profits in the cities put him under pressure to act on the environment.
“The challenge for our climate demands that we do more,” Macron told the Climate Council members at a meeting in the Elysée Palace.
He also supported a proposal for a moratorium on new commercial zones on the outskirts of the city and said he would consider introducing a new law against “ecocide”.
The Climate Council defined the ecocide as all measures that cause serious environmental damage and suggested that the crime could be punishable by imprisonment and a fine of up to EUR 10 million ($ 11.27 million).
However, Macron told the council that he did not agree with his proposal for a dividend tax of 4% to help finance new greener policies, saying such a fee would discourage investment.
France’s Green Party – officially known as Europe Ecology – The Greens (EELV) – stunned Macron and France in Sunday’s vote when it won control of major cities including Lyon, Bordeaux and Strasbourg, often in a left-wing alliance.
It is a junior partner in the winning socialist-led alliance in Paris and can still come out victorious in Marseille.
Macron’s ruling party emerged from the vote without a single victory in a big city, a result that leaves the president without a local power base when he sees an ombudsman in 2022.
Macron set up Citizens’ Climate Council in the wake of “yellow west” protests, which erupted in a rise in diesel taxes but turned into a broader uprising against the president and his pro-business reform agenda.