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Hollande Raises Renewables Stakes

French president Francois Hollande has made an outspoken call for investment in renewable energy.

Without such financial backing for renewables, the world is heading for an environmental “catastrophe,” he said at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi today.

But it’s not the comments themselves that are interesting here – instead it is who’s making them: the leader of Europe’s nuclear powerhouse.

When he won the election last year, Hollande had already stated his desire to see a reduction in France’s reliance on nuclear power, but these are his most high-profile remarks yet about supporting renewables.

“If we don’t act – if we don’t do anything, if we don’t invest anything – we can be sure that we will have a catastrophe very soon. We have to have confidence to invest in the new energy. We can act together to create this world of renewable energy,” he said.

He added it was “economic duty” to push for further use of renewable power generation. “We are obliged make our planet liveable for the next generation,” he said.

And he backed up his words with action, as French Energy Minister Delphine Batho signed a deal with Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chief executive of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, which will pave the way for Masdar to work with French firms and institutions on the development of renewables.

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: “France and the UAE are equally committed to making a concerted effort to address energy security and sustainability. The two countries are making bold investments in large-scale renewable energy projects and developing carbon reduction strategies.”

Hollande’s government is upping the stakes in renewable energy – already it has the sixth largest wind capacity in the world and has set a target of producing 23 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020.