French Elections: Alt-Right, Total and Gold Mines, the Story Behind the Candidates' Environmental Policies

The birthplace of the Paris Climate Agreements, the first round of France’s presidential election on starts on Sunday, April 23. Throughout the campaign debates on the environment have often been sidelined, with the three leading candidates showing no sign of real climate leadership.

The backdrop to the election campaign has been full of “fake news”, Brexit and Donald Trump. It has also been mired in scandals over corruption claims and growing concerns of Russian interference.

Many in France are still deciding who to vote for in one of the most unpredictable elections yet. If no candidate wins a majority on April 23, a second election round featuring the top two candidates will take place on May 7.

Far-right Marine Le Pen’s rise through the polls shows the populist pulse of Brexit and Trump’s election continues to resonate on the continent.

But Le Pen’s efforts to give the Front National (FN) a new, greener image is tainted by the party’s ongoing magnet effect with alt-right groups which reject climate science.

Conservative Francois Fillon denies any wrongdoing in a never-ending corruption scandal. Meanwhile his friendship with the head of oil giant Total raises questions over who will really benefit from his environmental policies.

The fragmentation of the political scene has left the door open for frontrunner Emmanuel Macron. Yet, his support for gold mines in French Guiana, in South America, has raised concerns over the protection of the territory’s unique biodiversity.

With seven days until the polls open, DeSmog UK looks at how alternative facts and the three main candidates’ links with powerful groups and corporations may have shaped their environmental policies.

DeSmog UK’s analysis shows:

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