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The French Environmental Movement in the Era of Climate Change : The Case of Notre Dame des Landes

Abstract : Our paper discusses the effect of climate change on the development of the environmental movement in France. Today, the French Green movement appears as strong as it has ever done, particularly in the predominantly institutionalised terms of its recent development. But what of protest? Despite successes and visibility on a number of issues, on climate change – the defining environmental problematic of our age – there is relatively little to report. Focusing on movement responses (mobilisation, discourses, policy, strategies) to three infrastructure projects (EPR nuclear reactor, Flamanville; Notre Dame des Landes airport, Nantes; 450MW gas power station, Guipavas, Brest), we argue that institutional and identitarian movement dynamics have constrained the movement’s ability to mobilise effectively on climate change. We discuss: 1. the development of consultative decentralised structures modifying the relationship between civil society and the state; 2. the institutional development of the Greens, placing them (as movement allies) in power-sharing agreements with traditional left parties committed to liberal economic growth strategies; 3. the media ‘capture’ of the nuclear thematic by Greenpeace France, and its effects on developing a mass movement; 4. the importance of the anti-nuclear struggles of the 1970s as lieux de mémoire for the movement We explore to what extent these dynamics, taken together, constrain the development of new movement positions over energy, and effective movement mobilisation over both nuclear power and climate change. Finally, we discuss whether the recent development of climate camps represents a potential way out of this impasse.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00794155
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Graeme Hayes, Sylvie Ollitrault. The French Environmental Movement in the Era of Climate Change : The Case of Notre Dame des Landes. Green Politics section, Panel on The National Politics of Climate Change - ECPR General Conference, Aug 2011, Reykjavik, Iceland. ⟨halshs-00794155⟩

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