France’s new ecology minister, Nicolas Hulot, has pledged to ban the sale of all petrol and diesel cars in the country by 2040.
Hulot made the announcement at a presentation on Thursday night, outlining how the European nation intents to fulfil its commitment to the Paris climate agreement and become carbon neutral by 2050.
Hulot said that he recognised the target would be a tall order for French car makers, but that they were developing technologies which “can fulfil that promise.”
As part of the plan, poorer households will receive a premium to assist in the purchase of clean alternative vehicles, The Independent reports.
Air pollution is a massive problem in French urban centres, particularly Paris. Within the EU, it experiences the fourth-highest rate of early deaths from nitrous oxide (NO2) pollution behind Italy, the UK and Germany.
The minister also said France will stop using coal to produce electricity by 2022, and the government will invest up to $6.3 billion to help boost energy efficiency.
“We want to demonstrate that fighting against climate change can lead to an improvement of French people’s daily lives,” he said.
Several other countries have already announced their intention to ban combustion-powered cars – The Netherlands and Norway previously said they wanted to ban petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025, and Germany and India want to cease the sales by 2030.