As in other countries, 2019 was notable in France for the regular mobilization of a section of the population to call the climate emergency to the attention of decision-makers and citizens. ‘Climate Marches’ repeatedly brought thousands of people on to the streets in French cities; young people (school and university students) initiated strikes and demonstrations to show their concern over global warming. These mobilizations are an interesting indication of the awareness of the issues and the demand for concrete action among a section of public opinion.
Yet is this mobilization significant? What is the overall position of the French public on climate issues? Are they ready to act concretely in the struggle against global warming? This article by Solange Martin — part of our new series on energy issues and climate change — shows how French public opinion is moving on these questions, with a distinct polarization on the issue and an increased risk of social tensions. It shows how far there still is to go before the ecological transition takes on any substance in France, both in public opinion and daily life.