French PM Maneul Valls
28 November 2014

The fight against global warming: “major national cause” in 2015

In closing the 3rd Environmental conference of the five-year term, Manuel Valls declared the fight against climate change “major national cause” for 2015 (grande cause nationale label). Dedicated to the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, this will be a "special year" for France.
Content published under the Government Valls II from 2014 26th August to 2016 11th February
 
"We've been protesting and screaming about how urgent the situation is for decades. We are now past an emergency situation and now more than ever we must face our responsibilities. The IPCC's scientists demonstrated a few days ago that global warming is undeniable. And it is unprecedented".
Manuel Valls
28 November 2014

During his speech closing the Environmental conference, an event "which is now a highlight of the environmental debate in our country", the Prime Minister declared the fight against climate change “major national cause” in 2015 (grande cause nationale label).

2015 will actually be a special year, "a year that counts," and the Prime Minister is planning to support all initiatives that come from civil society. In hosting the climate conference (COP21) in December, France "will bear a heavy responsibility: that of making the whole world aware that we need to work together against climate change".

To limit worldwide carbon emissions, carbon must have a price, Manuel Valls added. France is determined to find all possible compromises in this area. France is also planning to use its influence to end public support for exports of coal-fired power stations.

In terms of energy transition, the Government's own credibility rests first and foremost on the example it sets, the Prime Minister said. So, to enable the French Government to demonstrate its intentions, an action plan named "Exemplary administration" (Administration exemplaire) will be presented at the start of the year and will put concrete progress in place. Encouraging agro-ecology products in collective restaurants, starting with public ones, will be one of these exemplary measures.
 

Combining ecology and economy


The Prime Minister also looked forward towards the Government's three main priorities for the coming year.
 
  1. Energy strategy first of all. The objective is clear: diversify our electrical offer and reduce our consumption. To do so, we must develop renewable energies on a massive scale and reduce the share of fossil fuels. Here "France is lucky: we have an efficient nuclear power sector. (...) It is not about facing renewable and nuclear energies off against each other. On the contrary, we want to combine them, using smart networks". In terms of re-balancing the energy offer, the Prime Minister recalled the ambitious objectives for 2025-2030 laid down in the bill regarding energy transition for green growth. "The electricity system is evolving over the long term. Thus, we must anticipate this with energy programmes over several years. We need to give each sector (wind power, solar power, methanisation, etc.) clear and stable objectives. It is the only way to develop these sectors".

    At the same time, the Government is helping households, businesses and authorities to reduce their consumption, first of all via energy renewal for homes. "We are encouraging this with the tax credit for renovation work. Then by offering loans at favourable rates to businesses and local authorities to enable them to make the necessary investments, which will enable savings to be made in time".
     
  2. Transport and air quality. The greenhouse gas issue is also, of course, one which involves transport. Transport accounts for over a quarter of emissions in France. As certain studies are causing alarm on fine particle pollution in our major cities, Manuel Valls stressed that we have made a mistake by favouring diesel engines in France for too long. "We need to go back on this gradually, intelligently and pragmatically. Our tax policy must continue to be oriented towards helping our fellow citizens make ecological choices". The reduction in the tax difference between petrol and diesel, which is laid down in the 2015 Budget Bill, will contribute to this.
"We must move forward collectively, and at a local level first", the Prime Minister indicated. So, in 2015, the Government will set up a system to identify vehicles according to their polluting emissions. "This system will help authorities to develop policies that encourage cleaner vehicles". The Government will also make a financial effort to help individuals: a bonus for converting old diesel vehicles will be introduced in areas covered by an atmosphere protection plan. And the bonus for electric and rechargeable hybrid vehicles will be kept until the end of the five-year term. Electrical terminals will also be deployed across the whole country. Finally, Manuel Valls announced the imminent launch of the 3rd call for own site public transport projects. "I know just how eagerly-awaited this is. I have made sure that the level of Government investment in transport is maintained at a very high level, therefore matching the efforts made by local authorities".
 
"The Government is stepping up for transport and for major structural projects, with the new generation of State-Region planning contracts (CPER - contrats de plan État-Région). These CPER account for nearly 7 billion Euro that the Government is dedicating to mobility projects, with two thirds for rail and river modes. I wanted to see this huge effort come into being as it is vital."
Manuel Valls
28 November 2014
 
  1. Biodiversity: Protecting our landscapes and preserving living species constitutes the 3rd priority for the coming year. A bill regarding biodiversity will be debated in the National Assembly this spring and Ségolène Royal has already launched the pre-configuration works of the new French biodiversity agency to enable it to be operational as soon as possible once the bill is voted through.
As of next week the ministries will take charge of the draft road maps, developed by the participants at the Environmental conference, whether for sustainable mobility, health and the environment or the fight against climate change. "I will make sure that all of your work is used", specified Manuel Valls, who will bring the whole Government together in January for an interministerial committee on sustainable development. This meeting will enable the road map to be adopted for 2015, which will then be presented at an extraordinary national council on ecological transition.

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