France is banning gas and diesel cars

All new cars sold will be electric or hybrid by the year 2040.
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Ongoing concern over climate change and greenhouse gases has seen France pledge to commit to 100 percent electric or hybrid vehicle sales by 2040.

Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot made the announcement on Thursday, the Independent reports, revealing the nation will ban gas and diesel car sales in 23 years' time as part of its commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. (Which the U.S. isn't a part of anymore.)

Currently only 4.7 percent of vehicles in France are hybrid or electric. Hulot said he believes the country's major car manufacturers – including Renault, Citroen and Peugeot – are up to the challenge of moving to limited- or zero-emission vehicles.

The BBC reports it's not clear yet what this would mean for all the gas/diesel cars that were bought by consumers before the 2040 deadline.

The European nation set an ambitious target of being completely carbon-neutral by 2050, recognizing carbon dioxide's role as one of the major greenhouse gases that is contributing to global warming. Hult also announced France will stop using coal to produce electricity by 2022.

The EPA says transportation accounts for about 14 percent of global emissions.

Other nations, companies are following suit

France isn't the first nation to make such a pledge.

Norway is leading the way on moving towards a limited-emissions vehicle policy, with the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association noting that the Scandinavian country has decided that all new cars sold by 2025 should be zero- or low-emission.

Since the early '90s, the country has had a series of incentives in place to reduce vehicle emissions. This has led to 22 percent of the vehicles in Norway being electric or hybrid as of 2015, the association says.

The Guardian reports the Netherlands has put forward a similar ban with a 2025 target, some federal states in Germany are considering a 2030 phase-out of gas/diesel cars, and India is considering doing the same by 2030 as it seeks a way to fight its dangerous levels of air pollution.

There are similar moves in the private sector as well. U.S. carmaker Tesla is expected to ramp up production of its electric vehicles next year, while sales of electric cars like the Chevrolet Volt are on the rise.

Earlier this week, Swedish carmaker Volvo announced that as of 2019, it will stop manufacturing gas or diesel cars, switching its production entirely to electric or hybrid, as reported by Wired.

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