Nicolas Hulot

Monsieur Hulot's bet

He'd always said no. He refused all presidents, Chirac, Sarkozy, Holland, to enter a government. And today, he said yes. Nicolas Hulot is appointed Minister of State for Ecological and Solidarity Transition. A position of weight in the new government. An agreement that should not have been made without guarantees. But in spite of everything, it was quite a gamble he had to take to respond to the urgency of the climate situation.
It will not be the government's green plant " said José Bové just after the nomination of his friend Nicolas Hulot. Highly jealous of his independence, the president of the Nicolas Hulot Foundation has certainly advised many presidents of the Republic and held many positions as advisor or "special envoy for the planet", but he has always refused a ministerial position. « I've always been on the side of those who demanded "he said during his handover with Ségolène Royal.
If he now agrees to cross over to the other side of the fence, to the side of those who act, it is certainly not without having taken assurances on a number of burning issues.
First, the nuclear phase-out. Faced with a Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, who was for a time a lobbyist within the Areva group, will Nicolas Hulot be able to implement the ideas he has always defended on nuclear power? For him, it is not just a question of closing the Fessenheim power plant, but of implementing the promise to respect the reduction in the share of nuclear power from 77 % to 50 % in the French energy mix by 2025. A promise that is difficult to keep, all the more so as it has to be carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of the Economy, whose new boss is LR Bruno Lemaire. The new minister will also have a cumbersome dossier on his hands, that of the merger of Areva's branch responsible for building nuclear reactors and EDF. A zone of uncertainty and turbulence that immediately alerted the stock market: EDF's share price has been on the rise since the beginning of the year. dropped seriously, only minutes after the announcement of the new government.
The other hot topic is Notre-Dame des Landes Airport. Nicolas hulot was a fierce opponent: " Over 40 years old, this project is flawed, gangrenous. It carries within it the roots of discord. It will never be done under the current conditions. ", he said in November 2015. What weight will he have in the government on this thorny issue? There is no doubt that it had to be put on the table with the President of the Republic in their exchanges prior to the appointment. A sign perhaps in the declaration last Wednesday from the new government spokesman Christophe Castener: " The President of the Republic wants to give himself six months to take stock of the situation. Today, everything is blocked. We must give ourselves six months to see clearly on the usefulness of this airport or not. ".
The AETC, this free trade treaty with Canada, is also a subject of questioning, if not discord between Nicolas Hulot and President Macron. The latter has certainly revised the very favourable position he had at the beginning of his campaign on this treaty. This issue was the stumbling block to François Hollande's offer to France's most popular environmentalist to join the government. What guarantees would the President of the Republic have given him on this point so that he would accept this time? Would his promise to set up a committee of independent experts to assess the environmental impact of the AACC before its ratification by parliament have been enough? Time will tell.
In addition to these main issues, other no less important ones will be on the table tomorrow morning: biodiversity, the opening to competition of hydraulic dams, the fate of diesel, the agricultural transition, oil drilling, etc. Nicolas Hulot will have to arm himself with courage - he has it - but also with diplomacy, a quality that is less in evidence in his personality, as he is a man fiercely attached to his convictions.
Finally, solidarity. This is the last battle horse of Nicolas Hulot who perfectly perceived the close link between ecology and solidarity. The movement Present! that he launched a few weeks ago has had little resonance among politicians. Today, his ministry is called "Ecological and Solidarity Transition". Is this the key to the successful meeting between the new President of the Republic and this "ecological and solidarity transition"? great distress ", that " hopeless optimist " what is the new Minister of State. Or is it a subliminal appeal to incite Nicolas Hulot to sometimes put water in his wine in the name of the sacrosanct "governmental solidarity"?
This "climate watch", the one that put historic words in Jacques Chirac's mouth at the Johannesburg summit - " Our house burns down and we look the other way "The former TV presenter, who has enjoyed unshakeable popularity for years, sent a message to his friends at the foundation that bears his name, which he will no longer chair. « Those who know me know that being a minister is not a goal in itself. I weigh all the implications of this decision. However, I have an intuition, though not a certainty, that the political situation opens up a new opportunity for action that I cannot ignore. Above all, I consider that the urgency of the situation requires me to do everything I can to bring about the new model of society that we are collectively calling for. I hope that this new situation will provide fertile ground on which to build it at last. ".
Is this the key to Mr. Hulot's gamble in taking up his position, which he prefers to call the "ministry of the future"? 

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