French government presents its decarbonisation plan to meet EU targets

French government presents its decarbonisation plan to meet EU targets |

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne unveiled detailed plans on Monday (22 May) for France to meet the EU’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 55% below 1990 levels by 2030.

France’s target until now was to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030, a goal that was no longer in line with the EU’s revised climate objective.

To align with the EU’s 55% target, France will thus have to reduce emissions from 408 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent to 270 mtCO2e, the French government said.

To meet this target, Borne presented objectives for the main sectors of the economy to the National Council for Ecological Transition, a body that gives its opinion before parliament votes on energy and environmental legislation.

Replacing electric cars with the combustion engine alternative will reduce the most greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector – 11 million tonnes less of the 37 million expected by 2030 – Borne’s plan states.

In 2022, according to Citepa data, the transport sector was the largest emitter in France (129 mtCO2e), ahead of agriculture (81 mtCO2e), industry (72 mtCO2e), construction (64 mtCO2e), and energy (47 mtCO2e).

The “large industrial sites” sector will have to make the greatest effort to decarbonise and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 24 mtCO2e by 2030.

In the building sector, the renovation of residential buildings and the reduction in fuel oil and gas use are the three pillars of the decrease in emissions from the sector.

“In total, half of the effort [to reduce greenhouse gases] will be made by businesses, particularly large companies, a quarter by the state and local authorities, and the final quarter by households,” Borne said during the CNTE consultation.

All these measures should make it possible to ensure emissions are halved compared to 1990 data. The remaining 5% to reach the EU target will be filled by carbon sinks.

But, there is “still uncertainty about how to absorb the carbon sink”, whose capacity has almost halved since 1990, according to the Prime Minister’s Office, which, for the moment, is unable to give figures for absorption by carbon sinks by 2030.

There is also uncertainty about how to finance the transition, the office added.

Coming in line with emission reduction targets will come at a cost of around €66 billion per year until 2030, according to a report published Monday by France Stratégie, an organisation attached to the prime minister, writes.

Other legislative and regulatory texts will be presented before the end of 2023 to complete the first milestones laid down on Monday by Borne.

(Paul Messad |

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