Ségolène Royal, French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy: Viewpoint

Ségolène Royal, French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy

I’m optimistic about the outcome of the Paris Climate Conference, because I see that things are moving and are accelerating in the field of sustainable energy. There is still a lot of work to do, but I am thankful to the Algerian authorities for their commitment to helping France achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Conference. In September 2015, Algeria sent its projection in terms of its energy mix and energy transition. This was a very encouraging gesture, and it is a strong signal from a producer of fossil fuels. We are currently advancing the goals of the Paris Climate Conference and, to do so, it was necessary to visit many African countries, including Algeria. We must imagine a future with this transition and this evolution. France has reduced the share of its nuclear power and energy needs coming from fossil fuels, in order to ramp up its usage of renewable energy. This transition is very important, especially for countries around the Mediterranean, and therefore I believe that there are many fronts where France can work together with Algeria and its people.

No country is spared from global warming and climate change. It interested me to hear the minister of environment and water resources describe the impact of global warming on water scarcity, on the issue of desertification and on other issues related to energy and pollution. These are ultimately the same problems that are found globally with varying degrees of intensity. It is true, however, that the damage generated by climate change is enormous. Take for example the floods seen in Corsica, the melting snow on Mont Blanc, the decline of biodiversity and the negative effect that climate change has had on the coastline of Algeria.

At the same time, we have solutions. What must be understood is that being forced to change modes of development to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to stop polluting and reduce our excessive use of the earth’s natural resources, is in fact an opportunity. It allows our companies to organise themselves differently. Through innovation, investment, and the development of clean transport, companies will make a positive and real impact on the future. They can improve the energy efficiency of buildings, develop renewable energies such as solar power, address the issue of water treatment, question current waste treatment practices and explore biogas production in rural areas. Some of the major objectives of my visit were to reinforce the development of green funds, financing and technology transfer through partnerships on photovoltaic usage and agriculture. In that same vein, it is important to strengthen our partnership with Algeria in the circular economy (waste, turning waste into raw material), biodiversity-related topics and renewables. These exchanges are very important and very fruitful for us in the fight against global warming, while at the same time help to create sustainable activities and jobs.

My stay was short but productive, and I was able to visit and witness some of the outstanding achievements Algeria has made in its ecological transition, particularly in water purification and waste treatment. In the area of water protection, major efforts were made in this country as early as 2005, with the signing of a water management agreement and sanitation in large cities with Suez. We need to ensure that everyone has access to renewable energy and, more specifically, that everyone has access to solutions that fight against global warming. I think of the protection of forests, for example. Deforestation has led to an accentuation of heat, whether in countries that have been deforested, or in cities. In each case, a lack of forests has had a negative impact on the quality of life. When we as people win back the presence of nature in our cities, we are contributing to the fight against global warming by helping to reduce carbon dioxide levels. Forests are carbon sinks so in that sense, it is an absolutely essential issue for the world.

Anchor text: 
Ségolène Royal

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