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France: energy-saving drive to fight winter lacks

France: energy-saving drive to fight winter lacks

Newslooks- PARIS (AP)

“Every gesture counts” is the watchword of a French government energy-saving drive unveiled Thursday to get the country through the winter without gas from Russia and closer to European Union targets of reaching climate neutrality by 2050.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron, right, speaks with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal during a meeting of the European Political Community at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, Oct 6, 2022. Leaders from around 44 countries are gathering Thursday to launch a “European Political Community” aimed at boosting security and economic prosperity across the continent, with Russia the one major European power not invited. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

The French push for “energy sobriety,” months in the planning, dovetails with gas- and electricity-saving drives taking root across Europe. The war in Ukraine is forcing the continent to swiftly wean itself off cheap fossil fuels from aggressor Russia and scramble for alternative sources — a dramatic shift driving concerns of possible shortages and crushing price rises for energies that power European homes and industries.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at the Sub-Prefecture in Saint-Nazaire after a visit at the Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm, off the coast of the Guerande peninsula in western France, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (Stephane Mahe/Pool photo via AP)

To ward off any gas or electricity shortages in the coming winter months, France’s government is aiming for a swift 10% reduction in the country’s energy use with the raft of turn-it-down, switch-it-off energy-saving measures that ministers were detailing on Thursday afternoon.

FILE – British Prime Minister Liz Truss and French President Emmanuel Macron, left, shake hands as they hold a bilateral meeting ahead of the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York, Tuesday Sept. 20, 2022. After an acrimonious divorce and years of bickering, Britain’s government looks like it wants to make up with the European Union. On Thursday, Oct. 6 Truss travels to the Czech Republic to attend the first meeting of the European Political Community, an initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron that brings together EU members and countries outside the union. (Stefan Rousseau/Pool Photo via AP, file)

They’ll include an array of energy-saving tips, efforts to reduce energy consumption in public buildings by limiting heating and other belt-tightening, and a new ““Every gesture counts” government publicity campaign urging people to do their bit.

French President Emmanuel Macron smiles as he listens to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during a joint statement prior to their working diner at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday Sept. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Towns and cities haven’t waited for the government to act, with a growing number already turning down thermostats in swimming pools, sports halls and other venues, and some also switching off street lights at night.

French President Emmanuel Macron talks with workers on board a boat during a visit at the Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm, off the coast of the Guerande peninsula in western France, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (Stephane Mahe/Pool photo via AP)

The “energy sobriety” drive is also intended to speed France toward its longer-term goal of slashing its energy use by 40% by 2050, to comply with European Union climate neutrality targets.

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