The presence of “stars” during demonstrations is always double-edged. There are those who think that this gives visibility to the movement. And there are those who deplore that on the contrary it distracts attention. The arrival of environmental activist Greta Thunberg on Sunday at the demonstration held in Bordeaux against a project for eight new oil drilling operations in La Teste-de-Buch, in the Arcachon basin, was no exception to this rule. .
One demonstrator was annoyed that the photographers’ lenses remained focused on the young Swedish woman for a long time, as soon as she appeared in the procession. For the mayor of Bordeaux Pierre Hurmic (EELV), “the fact that celebrities are added to the many mobilized citizens is a very good thing, because it will give us a greater chance of being heard at the highest summit of the ‘State. »
“It’s not politics, I’m the mayor”, says Pierre Hurmic to Greta Thunberg
However, the chosen one was sharply rebuffed a few minutes later, when he tried to approach Greta Thunberg. “I am the mayor of Bordeaux, I want to greet her, she is in my city,” he said. slipped while approaching the very closed circle surrounding the young Swede. “No way, we don’t want political recovery,” he was bluntly told. “It’s not politics, I’m the mayor,” insisted Pierre Hurmic, who was unable to win his case and had to leave at the head of the procession. A good player, the elected environmentalist, however, did not hold a grudge against the environmental activist, and blamed this refusal on those around him…
In any case, she did not speak at any time, contenting herself with chanting a few slogans, in French and English, such as: “we are hotter than the climate”, while jumping and clapping her hands.
“International attention is on France”
Beyond the arrival of Greta Thunberg, who was already present the day before at the demonstration against the A69 Toulouse-Castres, the peaceful demonstration against these oil projects mainly succeeded in mobilizing 2,500 to 3,000 people (1,200 depending on the prefecture) . “Historic”, underlined Camille Etienne, the other star of the parade. The French environmental activist spoke at length on the subject of drilling in France. “This demonstration brings together local residents, but also Swedes, Belgians… International attention is on France, to say that we cannot authorize new oil wells on our territory, neither here nor elsewhere, because It’s simply suicidal. Oil exploitation causes water shortages, climate change, droughts… And wherever it is produced, half a ton of CO2 has effects all over the world. There will be no more new oil extraction in France, the president [Emmanuel Macron] keep saying it, you have to do it. The prefect must refuse this project which is an aberration. »
Granting new drilling would be “a very bad signal”
The objective of the demonstration was clearly to put pressure on the State and the prefect of Gironde Etienne Guyot. It is he who must give the green light, or not, to the Canadian company Vermilion, to exploit eight new wells on the “Cazaux field”, located in La Teste-de-Buch, on the Arcachon basin. Its decision is expected during the first half of the year, possibly in April, the prefecture told us on Friday.
It will come at a time when the Hulot law adopted by parliament in 2017 provides that France will completely stop producing oil and natural gas in 2040. This does not prohibit the drilling of new wells on permits valid until then. there. But granting new drilling would be “a very bad signal”, all the environmental associations present this Sunday in Bordeaux agreed. “We must all together say no to any new fossil energy production project, neither here nor elsewhere,” insisted Nathalie Hervé, from the Stop Total association, and coordinator of the “Stop Pétrole Bassin d’Arcachon” movement. which brings together several associations such as Greenpeace or Ecocitoyens du bassin d’Arcachon. “The transition begins now, and we must get out of fossil fuels as quickly as possible, and this must start today by refusing this project,” she added.
The Minister of Energy “favorable” to the project
In the procession, Matisse de Rivière, who joined the Stop Pétrole collective, recalled that “this would be in contradiction with the French strategy and with the declarations of Emmanuel Macron who wants to make France the first nation to stop exploitation and the search for oil on its territory. But it is also in direct contradiction with the Paris Accords. »
For the mayor of Bordeaux, Pierre Hurmic, it was necessary to “cry out loud and clear that these new hydrocarbon extractions, near us, are an aberration”: “we will only be able to respond to the climate emergency by putting a end to any new hydrocarbon extraction. The International Energy Agency has already said in 2021 that any expansion of hydrocarbon product extraction must be stopped. We are in 2024, and in France, we continue to encourage them. »
The Minister for Energy Roland Lescure, for his part, indicated this Sunday that he was “favorable” to this project. Questioned on France 3 in the show Sunday in politics, he recalled that “by 2040, we will continue to extract a little oil in France”, but “not a lot”, adding about the employees who work in these industries: “I cannot tell them, For me, we stop everything overnight. »
The Minister of Ecological Transition, Christophe Béchu, explained in December, in an interview with 20 minutes, that we had to “get away from a form of environmental hypocrisy which would be to close wells in France to increase the share of oil we import. » National oil extractions represent only 1% of oil consumption in France. “We can very well do without it, and our country must set an example,” said Pierre Hurmic.