3 May 2019

France wants to be the first country in Europe to put the carbon neutrality goal on a statutory footing

On 30 April 2019, François de Rugy presented the bill bearing on energy and the climate, which aims to put the goal of achieving zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 on a statutory footing. A first in Europe.

What exactly is carbon neutrality?

In the terms of the Paris Agreement, carbon neutrality refers to achievement of a balance between greenhouse gas emissions and absorption of such gases by ecosystems such as forests, grasslands, agricultural land and wetlands, as well as by such industrial processes as carbon capture and storage.

How does France expect to achieve this goal?

In 2018, France adopted an Energy and Climate Strategy. The bill presented to the Council of Ministers on 30 April 2019 sets out its orientations, which include:
  • An ambitious trajectory for decarbonisation of the energy mix by speeding up reduction of fossil energy consumption, cutting it by 40% in 2030, rather than 30% as provided for in the 2015 law on energy transition for green growth.
  • The end of coal-based electricity generation in Metropolitan France by 2022.
  • Realistic goals for transforming our energy model, by extending the deadline for cutting nuclear power's share to 50% to 2035 instead of 2025, which would have required building new gas-fired plants and involved an increase in our greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A High Council for the Climate, which will be responsible for assessing how well we are complying with our commitments.
  • Further levers to facilitate development of renewable energies: the National Low-Carbon Strategy will be revised every 5 years in order to ensure it stays fully in line with the reality of the evolution of France's emissions.