Paris Climate Conference
1 December 2015

Paris Climate Conference: France's national commitments

When it comes to combating climate change, the commitments France makes internationally find tangible expression at the national level. Between 1990 and 2013, France cut its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10%. To go further, since 2012 France has implemented numerous housing, transport, energy, agriculture, industry, biodiversity and other initiatives, and has passed the energy transition act. It is also setting an example by being one of the largest providers of funds in the fight against climate change.

Content published under the Government Valls II from 2014 26th August to 2016 11th February

France cut its emissions by more than 10% between 1990 and 2013, far exceeding its target under the Kyoto Protocol, which was not to increase them. This represents a per capita reduction of 21%. It reduced its emissions intensity of GDP by 55%. Among industrialised nations, France is therefore one of the lowest greenhouse gas emitters: it accounts for only 1.2% of worldwide emissions although it contributes 4.2% of global GDP.

France kept up this momentum in 2014. According to the initial revisions, emissions will be down 7.4% on 2013 levels; half of this reduction is due to the extremely mild weather conditions and half to  emissions reduction measures.

We should go further. That is the purpose of the new French commitments, and the European commitments for the Paris conference. But it is also the purpose of all housing, transport, energy, agriculture, industry, biodiversity and other actions undertaken since 2012.

French commitments ahead of the Paris Climate Conference

With the energy transition for green growth act, France has set itself two main targets:

  • A 40% emissions reduction by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
  • A 75% emissions reduction by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

To achieve these targets, it has decided to change the energy mix:

  • Increase the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption to 32% by 2030;
  • Reduce energy consumption by 50% by 2050.

France has also outlined strategic guidelines for implementing the transition to a low-carbon economy in all sectors of the economy over the period 2015-2028 (National Low Carbon Strategy):

  • A 54% emissions reduction in the construction sector, which offers very substantial potential for cutting emissions: construction of ultra-low energy and energy-plus buildings, acceleration of energy renovation work, eco-design and smart meters;
  • A 29% emissions reduction in the transport sector: improvement of the energy efficiency of vehicles (vehicle consuming 2 litres per 100 km), development of clean vehicles (electric cars, biofuels, etc.);
  • A 12% emissions reduction in agriculture through the agroecology project: anaerobic digestion, ground cover, maintenance of meadowland, development of agro-forestry, optimisation of the use of inputs;
  • A 24% emissions reduction in industry: energy efficiency, the circular economy (reuse, recycling, energy recovery), renewable energies;
  • A 33% emissions reduction in the waste management sector: reduction of food waste, eco-design, the fight against planned obsolescence, promotion of reuse and better waste recovery.

As a reminder, for the period 2013-2020, and pending an agreement that replaces the Kyoto Protocol, France has committed jointly with the other members of the European Union to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990.

These French commitments have boosted momentum in the EU, which presented its objectives for the Paris Climate Conference at the end of 2014. While the EU will only reveal the details of national contributions after any agreement in Paris, France's commitments lend credibility to Europe's contribution to the negotiations.

French minister Le Foll
The "4 per 1000" initiative: climate challenge and food security
The "4 per 1000" initiative, launched by the Government, is based on a simple principle: the more we increase organic matter in soils, the more greenhouse gas is stored. If, each year, we increase the organic matter content of soil by 4 g per 1,000 g of CO2, we could offset the entire greenhouse gas emissions of the planet in one year. France has chosen to make this concept a unifying and multi-partner facilitator at the international level, bringing together agricultural players – countries, regional authorities, companies, professional organisations, NGOs, researchers, etc. – to increase the carbon content of their soils each year.

 Also remember:

  • In September 2015, France confirmed the elimination of export credits for all new coal-fired power stations not fitted with a CO2 capture and storage system. Several companies have already announced their withdrawal from investment in coal (including Engie, Société Générale and BNP Paribas).
  • On biodiversity, France has set ambitious goals in order to protect the oceans and restore their role in the climate. The target to protect 20% of its seas and oceans with protected marine areas by 2016 will be exceeded thanks to the recent creation of the Bassin d’Arcachon and Mer des Pertuis marine parks, the forthcoming creation of the Cap Corse natural marine park, and the extension, by 550,000 km², of the French Southern Territories national natural reserve.

European commitments  

With the adoption of the 2030 Climate & Energy Framework in October 2014, the EU concluded an agreement that puts it at the forefront of the worldwide energy transition, and enables it to contribute to the success of the Paris Conference. Its targets are set out in three phases:

  • A short-term commitment: to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, from 1990 levels.
  • A medium-term objective: to reduce emissions by 80 to 95% by 2050, from 1990 levels.
  • A long-term objective: zero net emissions by 2100, to ensure a maximum temperature increase path of 2°C.

The climate and energy framework encourages the energy transition, particularly through:

  • A target of 27% renewable energy in the energy mix by 2030;
  • An energy savings target of 27% by 2030. Plans to review this target in 2020 have already been set out to increase it to 30% by 2030;
  • Significant support to Member States, particularly the least advanced, for investment in innovation and tangible projects. The priorities for using funds should be energy efficiency improvements, energy system modernisation and smart network development.

After the possible signature of a binding agreement in Paris during the Paris Climate Conference, the EU will reveal the detailed national contributions, country by country and sector by sector.

International solidarity

+2 billion
in climate funding by 2020

At the last United Nations General Assembly, the French President announced a €2 billion increase in climate funding by 2020. This increase will begin from next year, and annual climate funding will therefore exceed €5 billion in 2020, made up of loans and donations. This forms part of a broader increase in our development aid: aid to other development sectors will also be €2 billion higher in 2020.

France is setting an example and is one of the largest providers of funds in the fight against climate change. Last year, it made a significant contribution of $1 billion to the Green Climate Fund.

Climate funding must benefit poor and vulnerable countries. This means, for example, helping Africa to equip itself with renewable energy, or helping small islands and the least advanced countries to equip themselves with alert systems for forecasting climate disasters (cyclones, storms and drought).

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27 November 2015