Senior journalist and television presenter Stéphane Bern wrote an open letter describing the spread of wind farms across France as a form of “ecocide”.
Ecocide – an action causing serious damage to the environment – is set to become an official offense in France this year, with fines of up to 4.5 million euros and up to 10 years in prison for transgressors .
In the letter, published in Le Figaro, Mr. Bern criticized the Minister for the Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, saying that her plan to increase the number of wind farms in France made her “guilty of destroying natural heritage and damaging biodiversity, [causing] the artificialization of the soil and support for fossil fuels ”.
Mr. Bern is a strong supporter of preserving French heritage in the form of historic buildings, and now nature.
He has a foundation in his name dedicated to the identification and restoration of heritage buildings in France threatened with decay, but also runs the French heritage lottery.
French wind turbines will more than double by 2028
France is one of the top ten producers of wind energy in the world, producing 2.7% of all wind energy in the world.
Nationally, wind farms produced 8.9% of the electricity consumed in 2020. By 2030, France has committed to producing 32% of its energy from renewable sources, including wind turbines.
To help achieve this goal, Ms. Pompili intends to more than double the number of wind turbines in France between 2019 and 2028.
Mr Bern claimed the decision to increase the number of wind farms was taken undemocratically by city dwellers sores (champagne socialists) and powerful industrial lobbyists.
He wrote: “Can’t you hear the anger rising in the countryside? Rural people and around 500 mayors, members of the Vent des maires collective, are furious at this denial of democracy.
“Despite consultations with the public which made it clear that they were not in favor, the prefects were instructed to impose wind farms.”
He also claimed that wind turbines installed in France only operate 25% of the time and require energy produced from coal to power them.
Minister accuses the right of playing politics on wind energy
Ms Pompili challenged criticism of the wind turbines at a press conference on May 28, saying “disinformation campaigns, fueled by cynicism by political opportunists”, had clouded debate on the subject.
She said: “We have to get back to the facts, but this debate has been politicized in light of the election campaigns, especially by the far right.”
Mr. Bern’s open letter received broad support online by many politicians from the center-right Republicans party.
These include Giles Platret, presidential candidate for the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, who tweeted: “The countryside is our heritage, stop the destruction!
Damien Abad, deputy for Ain, also tweeted: “Wind turbines harm the countryside, the purchasing power of the French, the planet and the health of the inhabitants!” When will Mrs. Pompili stop denying this ?! “
Marine le Pen, president of the far-right national party Rassemblement, also expressed her support. She said: “I agree with all points of Stéphane Bern’s alarming analysis of the wind turbine scam.”
More than three quarters of French people support wind farms
A survey by the Institute for Nuclear Safety (IRSN) revealed that 82% of French people have a good impression of wind farms.
Of those polled, 41% said they would agree to live near a wind farm, compared to 22% who would agree to live near a high-voltage line and 16% for a nuclear power plant.
Ms Pompili said advances in energy storage are helping to regulate intermittent service from wind turbines and are already providing competitive service that will become increasingly efficient in the future.
She denied that wind farms have a significant impact on house prices in the region and said they are essential in tackling climate change and diversifying energy supply so that France does not become too dependent on it. ‘nuclear energy.
What is “ecocide”, the new crime proposed for France?
“ Kafkaesque ” denounces 22 illegal wind turbines in the south of France
Interview: Stéphane Bern – historian, TV presenter and organizer of the Loterie du Patrimoine de France