French presidential candidates sign green charter

The destruction of the environment could be a huge issue in US politics, but since both parties talk a good game about their concerns while remaining in the pockets of industry, business goes on as usual regardless of all the hot air. Things seem a bit different in Europe. This story is from Reuters Alertnet.

PARIS, Jan 31 (Reuters) – The main candidates in France’s presidential election lined up on Wednesday to sign a green charter drawn up by a potential rival who withdrew his threat to run against them.

Nicolas Hulot, a television star and independent green campaigner, had called on the candidates to sign a pledge to make the environment a priority or risk facing him in the poll, to be held in April/May.

Contenders such as Socialist Segolene Royal, conservative Nicolas Sarkozy, centrist Francois Bayrou, Communist Marie-George Buffet and Greens chief Dominique Voynet were among 10 candidates who attended the signing ceremony.

All of the main cadidates except far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen agreed to give priority to the environment, although some did not endorse all of Hulot’s plans, such as imposing a tax on carbon emissions and appointing a deputy prime minister for sustainable development.

“I solemnly reaffirm my determination to make France the country of environmental excellence, as I committed to doing before the ecological pact,” Royal told the audience.

“I know my political family has not always been good enough on this issue,” said Sarkozy, who has distanced himself from the current government in which he holds the post of interior minister, and says he represents a break with the past.

“We must move from the age of destruction to that of preservation,” he said.

Well, no kidding, but does he mean it? All the posturing by US politicians on such issues has made me too skeptical to believe they have any intention of reining in the destruction before a crisis hits too severe to ignore. France is big on nuclear power. If that changes, I would be more inclined to believe their politicians mean what they are saying.

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