The French parliament has approved part of President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to cut the use of fossil fuels, with plans to ban all drilling for oil and natural gas by 2040.

It will become illegal to produce or look for oil and gas in the country and its overseas territories. Existing drilling permits will expire in 2040 and, from today, no new ones will be granted.

France is the first country in the world to pass such a law. The change is unlikely to have a significant impact, given 99 percent of France’s oil and gas is imported from other countries.

France produces 815,000 tonnes of oil per year – most of it from its South American territory of French Guiana. Macron hopes the symbolic gesture will put pressure on other countries to adopt similar laws.

The president has said he wants France to become the global leader in the fight against global warming. He has promised to replace any funding withdrawn from the UN climate change programme by Donald Trump and has announced plans to ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars in France by 2040.

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