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    Nicolas Sarkozy’s “Green Card”



Protecting the environment while supporting shale gas explorations is not unthinkable for Maud Fontenoy. The former sailor joined Sarkozy right wing party

by: Kevin Bonnaud

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, Shale Gas , Top Stories, News By Country, , France, United States

Nicolas Sarkozy’s “Green Card”

Protecting the environment while supporting shale gas drilling explorations seems to be unthinkable to most green activists however Maud Fontenoy is sticking with her tricky position in a new interview on BFMTV

The former sailor who recently joined the right wing re-branded party Les Républicains as a representative on issues related to environment repeated several times the need to do some research. “I don’t understand why we should not explore our resources on principle as this source of energy could lead to jobs and wealth,” Maud Fontenoy says. The navigator who embraced a career in politics is trying to convince the public that natural gas is not so bad for the environment. “It’s a fossil fuel with a far less impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions than oil or coal. 98% of the natural gas we use on a daily basis come from Russia, Algeria or other countries far from meeting our environmental standards. With the shale gas, we could produce our own energy,” she adds.  

Meanwhile she refuses to support the controversial fracking technique. “We have to find new techniques with no negative impact on the environment. Let’s be clear. We reject the hydraulic fracturing and we will not allow polluting operations on the French soil.” Maud Fontenoy, who endorsed Nicolas Sarkozy's re-election campaign in 2012, is defending the former president's new stance on this issue. Nicolas Sarkozy said last September he was in favor of shale gas operations. “Nicolas Sarkozy has never talked about drilling operations but explorations,” she insists. 

Ms Fontenoy was quick to adopt the language of political correctness on this very controversial topic. She was more comfortable when she spoke about coal.“We have to pass a bill that could reduce the use of coal for a 5 to 10 years period. I personally support a ban on building coal-fired power plants.” Maud Fontenoy even considers taxing fossil fuels energies to boost clean energy investments. "We would use some of the benefits made by the shale gas developments to fund renewable energy projects.” 

Fontenoy stands firm

Maud Fontenoy’s view on shale gas has not changed since 2014 when she came out in an interview in Le Parisien backing then Economic Minister Arnaud Montebourg who is now out of politics, at least in theory, in his attempt to convince François Hollande to overturn the fracking ban voted in 2011. A change in the legislation aimed to allow shale explorations in France. Back then, she explained how shale gas operations could cut energy costs and curb carbon emissions citing the United States as an example. “The exploitation of shale gas across the Atlantic has become an ecological asset for the United States, significantly reducing their consumption of coal, and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 450 million tonnes over the last five years”

Navigate from the oceans to the political arena

Ms Fontenoy is an unusual voice in the environmentalist community trying to introduce a different message on the Environment than the far left Greens which often push a radical agenda with little results. A moderate, realistic vision to face climate change that she exposes in her new book, “the reasons to believe in.” It sounds like a book written by or for a politician. Maud Fontenoy is actually becoming a politician. Before joining Les Républicains, she was a candidate on the 14th place of the UMP list in 2004 for the regional election in Paris area. Then she supported Nicolas Sarkozy for his re-election in 2012.

Her popularity comes from her sporting accomplishments as a sailor and rower. She did a 9,000 mile sailing trip around the Antarctic against prevailing winds in 2006 and 2007. She previously crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in a rowing boat. A life experience that taught her the effects of climate change. In 2007, Ms Fontenoy received the French National Order of Merit. She is the UNESCO ambassador for oceans since 2009 and her foundation has developed social and cultural programs aimed to help preserve oceans and spread knowledge to a younger audience. 

Kevin Bonnaud