France Checkup

France—Standing Still

On March 6, 2015, the EU and its Member States (including France) communicated their INDC in conformity with the Paris Agreement. The EU and its Member States are committed to a binding target of  at least 40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990, to be fulfilled jointly. The Climate Action Tracker considered that the 40% emissions reduction target is significantly behind what is achievable and necessary by the EU and rated the EU’s pledge as “medium.” They see that the EU target is not consistent with limiting warming to below 2°C, let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit and represents only a slight slowdown in the rate of climate action compared to the preceding quarter-century—at exactly the time when there needs to be a threefold acceleration.

France scored 53 points and ranks third on the EU’s climate leaderboard, a tool that allows citizens to hold their governments accountable for the positions they take to implement the Paris Agreement. Regarding reducing its emissions, France´s results to date are positive. The French GHG emissions have all been below the targets over the past years. For example, in 2014 the French target was 389,5 Mt CO2 eq., but actual GHG emissions reached only 353,5 Mt CO2 eq.

Finally, the policy program of Emmanuel Macron, newly elected French president, includes few important aspects concerning climate change and the implementation of the Paris agreement. He commits to reviving the development of renewable energy and sticking to the objectives set in the energy transition bill, i.e., to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 30% by 2030 compared with 2012; to increase the share of renewable energies to 32% of fuel energy consumption and 40% of electricity production by 2030. However, the prohibition to issue new permits for hydrocarbon exploration and production is only temporary and no decision has been taken to make this prohibition permanent.
France is standing still and taking a slow-paced approach to honoring its INDC pledge to the Paris Agreement. The real challenge for France is not so much to fulfil the INDC adopted at the EU level, but to stick to the objectives of the energy transition bill especially concerning the development of renewable energy.

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France Emission Reduction Policy

Various Agriculture Sector Policies that Impact GHG Emissions  

In 2009, GHG emissions from the agriculture sector represented around 21% (107 MteqCO2) of the total emissions in France. Between 1990 and 2008, the emissions in the agriculture and forestry sector were reduced by 8% (around -9 MteqCO2). However, the Directorate General of Energy and Climate of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Sea observed that these emissions increased between 2007 and 2008 by 2.3%. This increase was caused in part by the abolition of letting fields lie fallow, which led to the increase of cultivated areas and helped promote the development of biofuels.

In France, applied policy measures in the agriculture sector rely on two complementary pillars:
Mitigation, aiming at reducing GHG emissions, especially through the increase of carbon sinks and fossil fuel energy substitution;
Adaptation to climate change.

Concerning mitigation, the following policy measures have been taken:
National Climate Plans (Plans Climats Nationaux): The first National Climate plan of 2004 proposed emission reduction measures in the agriculture sector but without specifying the real means to implement them. It focused national efforts on control of nitrogen fertilization, collection and recovery of biogas and valorization and development of products coming from biomass.
The Grenelle Environnement Forum: The discussions on “agriculture and climate” in 2007 especially focused on reducing the energy consumption of farms. The Grenelle Law 1 adopted in August 2009 calls for reduction “if possible” of pesticide use by 50% by 2018, and the goal of having 20% of agricultural production consist of organic products by 2012. The government also proposed having 30% of French farms with low energy dependence by 2013. In addition, a Plan for Plant Proteins (Plan Protéines Végétales) as part of the “Plan Objectif Terres 2020” was developed to support financially the culture of protein crops as they have a direct interest in reducing GHG emissions. Overall the content of the measures proposed by the Grenelle Environment Forum are quite ambitious and require a lot of investments. Most of the targets have not been achieved yet but the Government and the regions are deploying efforts to achieve them.

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France Extreme Weather Event

Xynthia—A Fierce Storm

The storm Xynthia was an intense low pressure system (weather event) which took place on the 27th and 28th of February 2010. It generated extremely severe wind combined with strong high tides and led to very strong and fast land mass submersion with heavy flooding. Five regions of France were strongly affected: Poitou Charentes, Pays de Loire, Aquitaine, Brittany and Normandy. During this storm, 47 persons died in France of which 35 were in Vendée, and 29 in the village of Faute-Sur-Mer. Due to the flooding many people have been displaced and numerous material damages have occurred. This storm is considered one of the strongest and deadliest natural disasters in the past twenty years. It created a deep psychological social trauma in the affected regions.

Following this event, the Government enacted legislative and policy measures. An order recognizing the state of natural disaster was published in the official gazette on the 3rd of March 2010 for four Departments in France. Its aim was to facilitate compensating victims and to trigger insurance mechanisms. In July 2010, the Commissions from the national parliament and the senate issued their reports. More than 100 proposals were made with the main objective to avoid other disasters of this kind. Some recommendations aimed at improving the dissemination of information about what to do in natural disasters; while others recommended increased financial support to municipalities to implement local response plans. New spatial plans were developed and flooded areas were designated “zones of extreme danger” and “black zones. The government bought many houses that were destroyed in these areas.

France Media Organizations

Broadcast Media

France 24 is a 24-hour international news and current affairs television network based in Paris that started in 2006. It targets the worldwide market and is generally broadcast via satellite and cable operators around the world. In 2010, France 24 also began broadcasting through its own iPhone and Android apps. The stated mission of the three channels is to “provide a global public service and a common editorial stance.”

The channel has a webpage on climate change: including articles and broadcasting.

In the context of the COP 22 in Marrakech, one of the weekly programs of the Channel “la semaine de l´Eco” focused on the energy transition since the adoption of the Paris Agreement and observed that climate change does not appear as a priority in the election platforms of France or the USA

The Channel also interviewed experts in the field of climate change. Recently, Virginie Raisson an expert in geopolitics was invited as economy specialist to discuss the impact of our food habits (especially our high meat consumption).

The channel published as well articles and videos in the context of the COP 21 supporting and spreading WWF positions:

However, very often the publications on climate change come from l’Agence France Presse (AFP) which produces around 200 articles per year on this topic. They are nor commented upon or criticized.

Since 2007, the main journalist covering climate change and environmental matters for the channel FRANCE 24 is Sebastian Seibt. To contact or follow him:
Some of his recent articles:
There are no real environmental journalists at France 24 like at Le Monde.
Print Media

Le Monde is a French daily afternoon newspaper founded in 1944 and continuously published since then. It is one of the most important and widely respected newspapers in the world.

Le Monde covers environmental issues and has a special webpage dedicated to Climate related aspects: It supports the Paris Agreement and publishes regularly climate change related articles informing French people on the international development and negotiations (e.g. Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement), global warming and its consequences. The newspaper covers for example UNFCCC COPs and the energy transition in France. Several recent articles deal with the climate change policy of the newly elected USA President, Mr. Donald Trump. As a climate skeptic, his election brings the risk of denouncing the Paris Agreement: Generally, the USA´s position toward climate change, especially the Kyoto Protocol, is a very recurrent topic in the newspaper. Other articles deal with global warming and the difficulty to achieve the target of the Paris Agreement (below 2 degrees Celsius), as the commitments of some countries (including again the USA) do not permit remaining below this threshold.

The main journalists publishing articles on climate changes for the newspaper Le Monde are:

Stéphane Foucart: He covers all science related issues and also environmental and climate change aspects and wrote several books including some on climate change: “le Populisme climatique: Claude Allègre et Cie, enquête sur les ennemis de la science “.

To contact or follow him:
Some of his recent articles on climate change:,

Simon Roger: Journalist at Le Monde (service Planète), he covers as well environmental and climate change related issues and wrote the articles for Le Monde on the COP22 in Marrakech.

To contact or follow him:
Email :
Some of his recent articles:

Online Media

Notre Planète Info is an independent web media launched in 2001 that provides news on environmental issues and on climate change in order to raise environmental awareness among the broad public. The articles cover especially the international developments regarding the UNFCC, Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement ( Other publications concern also address the consequences of climate change: ( ).

The main journalist covering climate change and environmental matters for this website is Pierre Marnier.

France Subnational Best Practices


Region Nouvelle Aquitaine—Region Nouvelle Aquitaine, with an area of 84,100 km2 and 5.8 million inhabitants, it is the biggest region of France. The Regional Council has established a Permanent Council for Energy Transition and the Climate. It will coordinate the action of the Regional Council services concerning climate change and mobilize external partners based on the Négawatt approach. It aims to reduce energy consumption, improve energy efficiency and substitution through the development of renewable energy. The renewable energy sector relies on a regional tool: the investment fund Terra Energies that was created in 2006. It brings together private and public partners through participatory financing mechanisms. Its goal is to support and facilitate renewable energy projects so that 32% of energy used in the region comes from renewable sources. Another objective of the region is to improve energy efficiency by 20% by 2020 in the industrial sector. The regional government matches the investments of these companies in their efforts to reduce their energy consumption by 10%. Aware of the importance of the contribution of buildings in energy consumption, the region also matches the money spent by owners of homes and housing in their energy renovation projects.

Jimenez Julien, Project manager
Mail: Hôtel de Région , 14 Rue François de Sourdis  33 077 Bordeaux cedex
Telephone: 0033 5 56 56 38 91


Le Grand Lyon (Lyon and its surroundings is the second biggest French city)—The Great Lyon signed the Convenant of Mayors committing to respect the objectives fixed by the EU by 2020 and to adapt its cities organization. It committed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 2020 by 20% (by 75% by 2050), and to reduce its energy consumption by 20%. It also pledged that renewal energy will represent 20% of the region’s total energy consumption. In 2012, the Great Lyon also adopted the Territorial Energy Climate Plan (Plan Climat Energie Territorial (PCET)). The Plan includes 26 actions for every sector concerned with GHG emissions. In total, 173 measures involving more than 50 partners are foreseen. For each of the 26 actions a steering committee will be established. The Great Lyon is the first French, and one of the first European cities, that took this initiative.

Various initiatives have been launched with very positive results. One is ‘Families with Positive Energy’ which allowed the region to save 990,000 kWh, equivalent to 170 tons of avoided CO2. In the city of Vénissieux, the share of renewable energy reached 50%.  Two thousand eco-buildings have been created through renovation in order to ensure low energy consumption. An ‘application by phone’ system has been created to support reducing local energy consumption and to limit GHGs. The city of Lyon received the label ‘Cit´energie,’ a European Energy Award.

Bruno Charles, Vice-Président EELV de la métropole de Lyon chargé du développement durable et de l’agriculture
Mail: Europe Écologie Les Verts du Rhône et de la Métropole Grand Lyon 34 rue Rachais 69007 LYON,
Telephone: 04 82 53 92 97

Other contacts regarding the PCET:
Agence Locale de l’Énergie de l’agglomération lyonnaise (ALE)
Mail: 14, place Jules Ferry, Gare des Brotteaux, 69006 Lyon
Telephone: 04 37 48 22 42

Dunkerque (Communauté urbaine de Dunkerque)—The Community of Dunkerque also signed the Convenant of Mayors and adopted a Climate Plan in 2008. It monitors GHG emissions and analyzes its carbon footprint. The main objective of PCET is to reduce the region’s GHG emissions to 25% of current levels by 2050. This is a national objective in line with EU policy. This reduction applies to waste treatment, housing, and transport sectors. A core aspect of the Plan is that the public service should show their examples concerning energy efficiency and savings. One example is that the community has established a “Reflex´Energie” scheme to encourage individuals to rehabilitate their houses. Three type of work are supported: isolation, installation of solar panels, and condensing boilers. A lot has been done to involve local companies and individuals. Various working groups have been established on specific topics (e.g. housing, mobility and urban planning). The city is also leading a research project (pilot project at national the level) ALTYTUDE on the use of alternative fuels for its public transport vehicles. Results: Since 2013, the City of Dunkerque has received the highest rating called ‘Cit´energie GOLD’. It has reached 73% of its objectives.

M. Jimmy Mary, Chargé de mission PCET et Cit’ergie (Communauté urbaine de Dunkerque),
Telephone: 03 28 24 48 83


There are 11 local associations that are members of the RAC and are involved in fighting climate change and reducing GHG emissions in France ( Two them are presented below.
Clim actions Bretagne Sud

Clim actions Bretagne Sud is an independent association aiming at mobilizing the politic, social, and economic stakeholders in order to adapt the region to the consequences of climate change. Its objectives are:
– Promoting energy sobriety and consumption models that respect common goods and the environment.
– Supporting, accompanying, and proposing solutions and innovative projects to reach the objective to reduce GHG emissions by 75% (factor 4 of the COP21, of EU and France).

Clim actions Bretagne Sud implements projects on education and climate in order to raise local awareness but it also supports citizen projects in the field of renewable energy through trainings for inhabitants but also for elected representatives.

Association Clim’Actions Bretagne
Mail: 43 rue du Maréchal Leclerc, 56000 Vannes, France
Telephone: 0689293597

Virage Énergie Climat Pays de la Loire

The association ‘Virage Énergie Climat Pays de la Loire’ was created by three other associations: Alisée, Attac44, et Sortir du Nucléaire 49. It aims to:
– Reduce GHG emission in the region Pays de Loire according to the recommendations of the IPPC: -40% by 2020 and at least -85% by 2050.
– Ensure sustainable energy supply by reducing consumption and developing renewable energy.

The association relies on the recommendations of the négaWatt scenario which proposes realistic solutions to reduce by the factor 4 energy consumption and GHG emissions in France, and on the work of ‘Virage Energie Nord Pas de Calais’, which was the first French local plan regarding climate-energy.


France Leaders and Opponents

Government Official
Ségolène Royal
Minister of Environment or Minister of Energy,  Ministre de l’Environnement, de l’Energie et de la Mer, chargée des Relations internationales sur le climat.

Ségolène Royal was the President of COP 21 in Paris during which the Paris Agreement was adopted. Her role is therefore very important as she supported the wide ratification of the Paris Agreement by other countries and its entry into force prior to the Marrakech Conference (COP 22). She is as well very involved at the national level to effectively implement the energy transition in France.

Contact : Cabinet de la ministre de l’Environnement, de l’Énergie et de la Mer, Address: Hôtel de Roquelaure, 246 boulevard Saint-Germain 75007 Paris, Telephone: +33 1 40 81 21 22

Climate Program Advocate
Morgane Créach
Directrice du Réseau Action Climat (RAC) France

Mrs Créach is leading the RAC since 2011. The RAC France is the French representative of the Cimate Action Network International (CAN-I), a global network gathering together more than 700 NGOs. The RAC France regroups 16 environmental NGOs including WWF and Greenpeace. One of the RAC missions is to propose coherent public policies at the national level to reduce French GHG emissions. Prior to the COP 21, Mrs Créach insisted on the fact that France is late on every single aspect of the energy transition. Prior to the COP21, the five keys NGOs of the RAC requested from the French government the adoption of 5 key measures including 100% renewable energies by 2050.


Climate Program Opponent
Mrs Marion Maréchal
Deputy at the French Parliament (Assemblée Nationale), Front National (extreme right wing).

During the vote at the French Parliament to ratify the Paris Agreement on May 17, 2016, all political groups from the majority but also from the opposition voted in favor. Only Mrs Marion Maréchal-Le Pen (Front National) abstained from voting. The Front National is a growing force in France.

Mrs Marion Maréchal-Le Pen is currently the only representative of the Front National at the Parliament. She justified her abstention to vote for the ratification of the Paris Agreement as her party considers that the efforts to reduce GHG should focus on emerging countries and demographically growing countries like in Asia or Africa. They criticized that the demographic question is not taken into account at all in the Paris Agreement and that this is a crucial element to be considered in order to effectively fight climate change. They consider that this kind of agreement will lead to more constraints for the French industries and will contribute to the decrease of French competitiveness already suffering from the environmental dumping practiced by developing countries. This party is against the EU, globalisation, and this kind of multilateral environmental agreement. They believe that bilateral discussions and support should be preferred.


France Leading Research Study

Research Study:  “Nuclear Power: A False Solution to Climate Change,” Wise Paris, 2015

In the face of declining nuclear power generation worldwide, nuclear industry leaders and their political and media allies are suggesting that this technology is an appropriate and indispensable solution to fight climate change. In the study, “NUCLEAR POWER: A FALSE SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE” (October 2015), a consortium of organizations (i.e. Les Amis de la Terre, la Fondation Heinrich Böll, France Nature Environnement, Greenpeace, le Réseau Action Climat, Réseau Sortir du Nucléaire, Wise Amsterdam) together published a report drafted by Wise Paris which compiled arguments demonstrating that nuclear energy is a false solution to fight climate change and reduce GHG emissions. Considering the importance of nuclear energy in France (France being the second largest nuclear energy electricity producer in the world), this study is crucial to reverse the current trend to rely on nuclear energy to cope with GHG emissions.

The report is built around three main ideas:

  • Risks: Reinforcing the role of nuclear energy can only lead to an increasing risk of proliferation, major accidents, and waste accumulation which are related to it.
  • Efficiency: nuclear only brings limited emission reduction percentages of GHG emissions and its role, restricted to emissions related to electricity, declines as other more efficient options grows.
  • Coherency: every new nuclear power plant project replaces cheaper and faster options to reduce emissions. Moreover, existing nuclear power plants represent an obstacle to the implementation of these options.

1. Related risks to nuclear proliferation

  • Spreading civilian nuclear power can lead to the use of nuclear energy for military purposes. A global conflict could lead to a nuclear winter fatal to humanity.
  • A growing risk of nuclear accident: major nuclear accidents reveal the fragility of the measures taken to prevent them. Various factors (e.g. terrorism, economic pressure, aging, etc.) contribute to reinforce this risk.
  • Accumulation of wastes: Nuclear energy generates nuclear waste, for which there is no definitive management solution.

2. A limited impact on emission reduction:

  • Indirect Co2 emission: Nuclear produces indirect GHG emissions that are equal to several dozens of grams of Co2 per kWh, a level close to renewable energies and way below fossil energy, but not equal to zero.
  • Limited contribution to emission control: Nuclear represents around 1.5 billion tons of CO2 avoided compared to current emissions. This effect is limited considering that emissions have drastically increased since the development of nuclear energy (20 times more). Therefore, nuclear energy cannot be considered as capable of reversing this trend.
  • A declining energy and climate role: With the decline of world nuclear electricity production and stagnation of the number of nuclear power plants, its role in contributing to global emission reduction is declining as well.
  • A limited scope: Nuclear only has an impact on emissions generated by the electricity sector which only represents less than 25% of the total emissions. In France, the development of nuclear reaching 80% of the total electricity production only contributed to reduce CO2 emissions by 15%.

3. An obstacle to more performing solutions

  • A non-competitive option: Nuclear has generally experienced a continuous increase of its costs and became less competitive than the most performing renewable energies and energy savings. The construction of new nuclear power plants is in the long run one of the most expensive options for emission reduction.
  • An insufficient lever for action: No country so far has demonstrated that nuclear can bring back GHG emissions to a sustainable level (e.g. case of the USA, first nuclear producer and second biggest GHG emitter).
  • A non-necessary option: To the contrary, many countries have shown the feasibility and efficiency of alternative options (e.g. Example of Germany which is getting out of nuclear energy while at the same time making great strides in reducing emissions).
  • An obstacle to energy transition: Nuclear is a brake on implementing the deep transformation of the energy system. It postpones also economic opportunities especially related to employment (e.g. Renewable energy creates 5 times as many jobs as nuclear power).

The study recommends focusing on two main measures in order to fight climate change:

  • Saving energy: Enormous potential for saving energy exists in every sector in France: construction, industry, transport, information technology, household appliances, etc. According to the study consortium, being efficient with the energy used, which is less expensive than producing it, brings about numerous advantages such as reduced energy expenses and job creation.
  • Promoting and developing renewable energy: The consortium indicates that according to the ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency), achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2050 would have a cost similar to maintaining nuclear energy. According to the study, France has the potential to produce three times as much renewable electricity as the current demand for power.


There is an urgent need in France to break out of the stranglehold of nuclear energy and to deploy real efforts in the direction of energy transition and energy efficiency. Unfortunately, nuclear energy in France still represents 75% of the French electricity mix and the costs for shutting down nuclear power plants make the promotion of renewable energy quite difficult and impede the energy transition in France. The fact that EDF, which is running nuclear power plants, is mainly State owned demonstrates that the decision to effectively implement the energy transition belongs to the government and therefore requires political will.

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France Emissions Reduction Policy

France: Climate Plan

Since 2012, when the first Environmental Conference was held, the French President of the Republic has set a clear course aimed at making France an exemplary nation in terms of environmental protection. The bill on energy transition for green growth was adopted during its first reading at the National Assembly in October 2014, setting ambitious goals and providing operational tools and simple, effective instruments to lower the energy bills of both France and its citizens while combatting climate disruption: by 2030, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared with 1990 levels; to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 30% by 2030 compared with 2012; to increase the share of renewable energies to 32% of final energy consumption and 40% of electricity production by 2030; to reduce final energy consumption by 50% by 2050, with an intermediate 2030 target of 20% compared with 2012.

Since 2004, the climate policy in France is presented in the Climate Plan (“Plan Climat” 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011). According to the article 2 of the Law POPE (Programmation fixant les Orientations de la Politique Énergétique), this Plan is actualized every 2 years.

At the national level, policies and measures in the field of climate change have been adopted in a progressive way and most of the time they have been integrated within other public policies. In 2007, the Grenelle de l´environment sought to reinforce the climate policy in France, in setting ambitious objectives in every economic sector and notably:

  • The stabilization of energy demand in the construction sector through a programme of technological breakthroughs for new constructions and an ambitious energy renovation project for existing constructions. In 2012, low energy consumption buildings were generalized. For existing buildings, the government set the objective of reducing by 38% the consumption by 2020.
  • The development of renewable energy in order to reach the objective accepted by France in the framework of the energy-climate package, which means that 23% of the final energy consumption should come from renewable sources by 2020.
  • The reduction of wastes with the objectives to reduce not only their production but as well to improve their recovery.
  • The accelerated development of non-road and non-air transport methods with the objective to bring back by 2020 the GHG emission of transports to their 1990 level. A series of measures has been put in place to support a shift to more environmental friendly transport methods and to improve the efficiency of existing transport methods.

Examples of France’s Commitment to Promote Low-Energy Methods of Transportation

1) National commitment for rail freight: for the transport of goods, the Grenelle Law fixed the objective to increase the modal share of non-road and non-air transport from 15% to 25% by 2022. Launched in September 2009, this national commitment aims at revitalizing the rail freight, through 4 key measures:

  1. The regional core transport infrastructure network for goods will be transformed in order to modernize its exploitation and to switch them toward freight.
  2. A network of efficient rolling motorways will be created;
  3. The high speed rail freight between airport will be developed;
  4. Access to the biggest ports will be improved.

2) High speed railway lines (LGV): for the transport of travelers, 2 000 km of LVG will be built by 2020 with the construction of the line South-Europe-Atlantique, the line Britany-Pays de Loire, the Mediterranean Arch, service in the East of France. An additional program of 2 500 km will be defined at a later stage. Several constructions took place and other were launched end of 2011. In total, more than 800 km of new lines were opened by end 2013. The development of new high speed rail lines allows the modal shift of passengers from the road and the air to rail, increasing the air quality and reducing the GHG emissions as well as the energy consumption.
3) Public transports on separate lanes (TCsP): 1,500 km of new lines will be built outside Ile de France in 15 years (against 329 existing in 2008). The State has launched 2 tender procedures between 2009 and 2010.

Improving the efficiency of used transport means.

1) Bonus-malus system for cars: Established in 2007 and based on the Co2 emissions per kilometer of new vehicles, it rewards by a bonus payment the purchase of vehicles that are least emitting and penalizes the acquisition of the biggest emitters.
2) L´éco-taxe kilométrique: The article 1 of the Law Grenelle 1 established an eco-tax per kilometer which will be withdrawn on lorries circulating on certain roads. It allows taking into account the cost of road uses and will finance transport infrastructure projects. By 2020, the following gains are expected GeS : 0.4 MteqCO2  ee : 0.17 Mtep.
3) National plan for the development of electric vehicles and rechargeable hybrids: Launched in October 2009, its objective is to have 2 million vehicles of this type by 2020. This plan will cover the different areas of electric vehicles including battery, infrastructure for recharge, research and industrialization). For example, 13 pilot agglomerations already committed to deploy recharge infrastructures. The State published a Livre Vert in May 2011 and should bring all answers to the questions that such an important deployment on the national territory raises. The expected gain is 2MteqCo2 by 2020.

On the occasion of Transport Action Day on December 3 2015, Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, and Head of the French delegation has launched four initiatives for an acceleration of climate actions in the field of transport:
1) Launch of a call for the development of an electric car accessible to all for less than 7,000 EUR;
2 ) France’s support to the Paris Declaration on Electro-Mobility and Climate change that was presented by the “Zero Emission Vehicles Alliance”, and brings together regions and states that commit to electric mobility (20% of electric vehicles by 2030);
3) France’s support, with 2 million EUR from the French Global Environment Facility, to the initiative MobiliseYourCity that aims at facilitating transport planning projects in 20 cities in developing and emerging countries, with the support of AFD (“French Development Agency”), CEREMA (French “Center for studies and expertise on risk, the environment, mobility and planning”), CODATU (French “Cooperation for Development and Improvement of Urban and Suburban Transport), and the German International Cooperation Organisation (GIZ);
4) A national plan for the deployment of positive energy roads that will incorporate photovoltaic cells to generate electricity: 1,000 km within the next 5 years.

Budget Policy That Supports Climate Change Efforts

From a budgetary point of view, all public policies and measures contributing to adaptation and mitigation of climate change are presented in the document for the transversal policy (DPT) “fight against climate change”, that the Minister in charge of Environmental, Sustainable Development, transport and accommodation is in charge of presenting to the Parliament every year in annex to the draft finance law. This document includes:

  • Presentation of transversal policy, list of programs that contributes to it and presentation on how these programs contributes to this policy.
  • Strategic presentation exposing the global strategy to improve the performances of the transversal policy.
  • Detailed presentation of the financial effort done by the State to the transversal policy for the coming year, present year, and previous year.

The coordination and animation of the policy to fight against climate change is under the responsibility of the General Directorate for Energy and Climate and international aspects are coordinated by  the Directorate for international and European affairs. Furthermore, the National Observatory for the Effects of Climate Warming (ONERC) created in 2001 following the Parliament´s initiative has as mission to collect and spread information on warming and extreme weather events. It is under the responsibility of the General Directorate for Energy and Climate.

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France Energy Production Trends

How The Energy System Is Structured

In France, there are companies that produce and provide energy to consumers (e.g. ENGIE and EDF) and companies that are only providers but do not produce the energy (e.g. Planète Oui, which provides only renewable energy). As well, some companies are only dedicated to the production of renewable energy (e.g. JPee).

Despite the opening of the energy market in France in 2007, the two historical operators—EDF and ENGIE (ex-GDF), which were state-owned until 2006 (Law No 2006-1537 concerning the energy sector)—are still the main producers and providers of energy in France (EDF for nuclear energy and ENGIE for gas). Indeed, they both still represent 90% of market shares. The French government currently owns more than 30% of ENGIE’s capital and 85.3% of EDF’s capital.

Until 2016, if the renewable energy producers wanted access to state subsidies they needed to sell their electricity to EDF systematically. This was called the “purchase obligation” (obligation d’achat). Since the adoption of the Decree on additional remuneration (Décret n° 2016-682 du 27 mai 2016), it is possible for the producers to sell their renewable energy to other operators while at the same time preserving the possibility of receiving subsidies. This was an important step in giving other energy providers (like Planète OUI) the chance to more easily buy renewable energy from different sources. However, the bank guarantee has replaced the purchasing monopoly (i.e. obligation d´achat). We can therefore say that the French government is still willing to leave the development of renewable energy to EDF, which is the most important nuclear energy producer in the world. There is a certain contradiction in leaving the development of green energy to a company producing nuclear energy as 78% of its energy mix (58 nuclear power plants). The costs for shutting down nuclear power plants make the promotion of renewable energy and the energy transition in France quite difficult.

Ségolène Royal, President of COP21, entrusted Pascal Canfin (former Minister, Managing Director of WWF France), Alain Grandjean (co-founder and partner of Carbone 4), and Gérard Mestrallet (Chair of ENGIE) with the mission of developing a report for enhancing carbon pricing across the world. At a French level, the report includes a proposal to introduce a floor price of €30/tCO2 for national electricity production. This measure would lead to the closure of almost all coal-fired and gas-fired power plants, significantly increasing the risk of blackouts on the French power grid. In order to replace coal-fired power production with gas-fired production, while securing supplies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the report proposes two options at a French level:

  • Establishing a regulatory standard based on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants; establishing a differential tax, the level of which would take account of the yield from thermal power plants. The aim of this would be to improve the general energy efficiency of all thermal power plants.
  • Establishing a differential tax, the level of which would take account of the yield from thermal power plants. The aim of this would be to improve the general energy efficiency of all thermal power plants.

Sources of Energy

In 2014, the total consumption of primary energy in France was 257 Mtoe. This represents a reduction of 0.7% per year since 2005. Since 2000, the energy mix in France has been almost stable, with around 45% primary electricity (renewable and non-renewable), 47% fossil fuels (30% oil, 14% natural gas, and 4% coal), and 7% renewable thermal energy and recovered wastes. The total of renewable primary energy represents less than 10% of the energy mix with 24 Mtoe (seasonally adjusted data) (Source: Bilan de l’énergie, CGDD/MEDDE).

In France, after a drop of 3.8% in 2014, the consumption of primary energy increased by 1.6% in 2015 at 253.4 Mtoe. The main reason was the drop in temperature compared to 2014, a year with exceptionally mild temperatures. The national production of primary energy grew slightly to reach around 140 Mtoe. The balance was close to its 2015 level, but the energy bill reduced by 28% due to the drop of fossil energy prices. Below 40 billion euro, the energy bill reached its lowest level since 2004. In this context, the final energy consumption, seasonally adjusted, which dropped on average by 0.9% between 2008 and 2014, has been almost stable since 2015.

The figure below shows the total consumption in 2014 of final energy per energy type.


In 2012, nuclear power plants (58 in total) produced 75% of the net electricity production. The French electricity mix is made of 75% nuclear energy and only 15% renewable energy, and therefore 90% non-fossil, non-CO2-emitting energy. Thermal, fossil, and CO2-producing energy represents around 10% of the mix. However, if nuclear energy does not emit GHG, it raises other environmental issues and cannot be considered the only alternative to fossil energy. France being the second largest nuclear energy electricity producer in the world, the energy transition is very challenging in a country where the sector is highly subsidised.

The share of renewable energy in France in the final gross consumption of energy was 14.9% in 2015 and has been progressing regularly for the last 10 years. The important growth of renewable energy since 2005 (+48%) is mainly due to the development of biofuels, heat pumps and wind sector. The development of solar energy and solid biomass for heating also contributed to this growth, even if this practice was limited between 2014 and 2015 due to the extremely mild climate.

Currently, it seems very difficult for France to follow the targets adopted in the framework of the EU climate and energy package. France committed to having 23% of renewable energy in its final energy consumption in 2020, but currently it has only reached around 14% (14.9% in 2015). In the last European ranking established at the end of 2015 based on 2013 data, France ranked sixth, below the average of the 28 Member States (15%) and way behind the champions including Sweden (52.1%), Latvia (37.1%), Finland (36.8%), and Austria (32.6%). France has even dropped by three positions since 2010, surpassed by Italy and Greece.

Profiles of Leading Energy Companies

ENGIE: ENGIE is the first independent power producer in the world and operates in 70 countries. It has 117.1 gigawatts of installed power production capacity (2015). It has 228 urban networks for heating and cooling operating in 13 countries. The production-base energy sources are the following:

  • 56.2% natural gas
  • 18.3% renewable energy
  • 12.8 % of coal energy
  • 5.3 % of nuclear energy
  • 7.4% other

As of December 31, 2015, the Company counted 2,435,285,011 shares with a par value of Euro 1. The figure below present the breakdown of ENGIE’s share capital. Only 32.76% of its capital is state-owned.


ENGIE has a board of directors and an executive committee. The board of directors defines the strategic guidelines and directions of the business, and the executive committee implements group strategies to succeed in the energy challenges of tomorrow. The board of directors is supported and informed by four committees with complementary areas of expertise:

  • The Audit Committee
  • The Strategy, Investment and Technology Committee
  • The Nomination and Compensation Committee
  • The Committee for Ethics, the Environment and Sustainable Development

The members of the ENGIE50 Operational Management Committee are:

  • The members of the General Management Committee
  • The 24 Business Unit CEOs
  • The Heads of the 5 Métiers
  • The Heads of the main Functional Divisions

ENGIE indicated in front of the French National Assembly that it is well aware of the role it has to play in combating climate change and has set itself a series of ambitious targets. It is now working to go even further and achieve a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions per kWh generated by 2020. It has also exceeded the goal it set itself by increasing our power generation capacity from renewables by 60% between 2009 and 2015, compared to its original target of 50%. ENGIE monitored the COP21 climate negotiations very closely, and has warmly welcomed the directions set in the Paris Agreement, especially the inclusion of a strong generalized carbon price signal as an encouragement to companies to invest in low-carbon technologies.

ENGIE made strong climate commitments, which include:

  • The 2015 decision to halt all new coal-based projects
  • The development of new offers tailored to the issues faced by individual regions
  • The development of new gas solutions, such as biogas and the road and sea transportation of Green Natural Gas (GNG).

Aware of its responsibility and the major role it plays in the transition to a low-carbon economy, the Group has identified the actions needed to make the climate agreement targets a reality:

  • Continuing to consolidate the key topics identified at COP21 and keep up the impetus on commitments (working alongside the World Bank, supporting European reforms, etc.)
  • Strengthening initiatives to redirect funding towards investment that will deliver carbon reductions (Green Fund and access methods)
  • Continuing to promote dialog between companies and governments, as is already the case with the Business Dialogue, in order to facilitate the introduction of a framework to encourage the rollout of low-carbon solutions
  • Encouraging access to energy in developing countries—especially those in Africa—through the development of renewables

Planete Oui: Planete Oui was funded in 2007 when the energy market in France was liberalized. Planet OUI is currently the only French provider proposing an alternative solution for eco-labelled electricity. Since its creation, its objective for green growth fosters the reduction of energy consumption and supports the production of renewable energy. Planète OUI buys its electricity from different French and European renewable electricity producers. In order to guarantee the origin of its electricity, Planète OUI certifies its electricity procurements with origin guarantees issued by independent French or European producers which comply with the EU Directive 2009/28/CE. Currently, Planète OUI has around 30,000 clients. The policy of Planète OUI is to mobilize consumers who are often not sufficiently involved in the energy transition.

The figure below presents the energy mix of Planète Oui. The majority of the energy purchased by Planète OUI comes from hydraulic energy.


The graphic bellow shows the periodicity and the origin of Planète OUI’s energy mix in 2015.


The map below presents the partner production sites of Planète OUI.


The objective of Planète OUI in future months is to insert within this sourcing new and innovative energy production (e.g. hydroliennes bio mimétique from the company EEL Energie in partnership with the French Institute for research IFREMER).

Planète OUI commits to maintaining prices that are below or equal to regulated prices. With the Law NOME (new organisation of electricity market) and the Code of Energy on renewable electricity providers, consumers can take ownership of the development of these production that they finance through the CSPE (tax appearing on the electricity bill of all French consumers). In this way, Planète OUI makes accessible to its consumers their right to consume what they financed themselves. The basic price per KWh is between 0.1564 euro (all taxes included) and 0.1462 euro.

Planète OUI policy is in line with the French objective to reach 20% of renewable energy by 2020. It proposes a reduction of 20% on registration thanks to its services Electroécolo and Electréconso. 20% of the investments of Planète OUI are directly engaged towards the production of alternative energy and/or the development of free services to support energy control and efficiency. By only providing renewable energy to its clients, Planète OUI contributes to a low carbon footprint. The other impact of Planète OUI on the reduction of GHG emission is to make an offer to its clients to reduce their energy consumption by becoming the owner of their electricity bill. However, the reduction of GHG emission that this will generate is not yet measurable.

Planète OUI faces the difficulty of accessing renewable energy production which remains mainly in EDF’s hands, despite the opening of the market to competition and the end of the purchasing obligation.

Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Charlin Gaudin

France Emission Reduction Challenges

Leading Emission Reduction Challenges: (a) Problems implementing existing climate change policies; (b) Changing peoples’ behavior


Current Level of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

As member of the EU, France has to respect EU targets for reducing GHG. Under the Copenhagen Accord the EU proposed to decrease emissions by 20%-30% below 1990 by 2020 and by 80%-95% below 1990 by 2050. The 2030 climate and energy framework sets the following key target for the year 2030: At least 40% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels). The framework contains a binding target to cut emissions in EU territory by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. To achieve the ‘at least 40% target’, the EU emissions trading system (ETS) sectors would have to cut emissions by 43% (compared to 2005). To reach these goals, the ETS is to be reformed and strengthened and non-ETS sectors need to cut emissions by 30% (compared to 2005). The overall EU targets need to be translated into individual binding targets for Member States.

The French non-ETS target under the EU Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) for 2020 is -14% (compared to 2005) and non-ETS emissions were reduced by 8.7% between 2005 and 2013, which is below the interim target for 2013. According to the latest national projections submitted to the Commission and taking into account existing measures, the 2020 target is expected to be met and even exceeded by a margin of 1.9% points.

According to the global carbon atlas, between 1990 and 2014 France has reduced its GHG by 0.5 % and between 2013 and 2014 by 9.4%. In 2014, the main GHG emissions came from oil (198 MtCO2), followed by coal (38 MtCo2), gas (80 MtCO2), cement (7.5 MtCO2) and finally gas flaring (0.4 MtCO2). France represents only 1.2% of global emissions although it contributes to the worldwide GDP for 4.2%. It reduced its emissions by 10% since 1990 and went beyond the Kyoto objective which was not to increase them. This represents a reduction of 21% per inhabitant.

France Q3

Evolution of emissions since 1990 in France


France’s energy policy is largely based on nuclear power which explains the low GHG emission profile of the country. However, the government is currently working on a strategy for diversifying the energy mix and reducing the energy intensity of its economy. The government of Francois Hollande – in office since May 2012 – pledged to cut the share of nuclear energy in the country’s electricity mix from 75% to 50% by 2025. Next to these overarching targets, the Energy Transition Act includes specific measures on energy efficiency in new and existing buildings, clean transport, recycling, and the promotion of renewable energy. This new Energy Transition Act, which was adopted in August 2015, aims at reducing GHG emission by 40% by 2030 and by 75% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels). It is also expected to establish multiannual carbon budgets, and measures for emission reductions, reduction of energy consumption and deployment of renewable energy.

The recent key policy developments include the work on the Energy Transition Act as well as the introduction of new environmental taxes with the Finance Acts of 2014 and 2015. Most notably, the government established a carbon tax on energy products that is levied since January 2014. France also adjusted a number of existing support schemes to speed up the energy refurbishment of buildings, the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles, and the deployment of renewable energies.


Emission Reduction Challenges

France is facing several challenges to reduce GHG emissions and achieve its targets. These include:

  • Cost and difficulties represented by the sectors where GHG emissions should be reduced: Once the country´s last coal fired plants are shut down, electricity generation will account for less than 4% of the country´s total emissions. This means that in the future, effort to reduce GHG emissions will have to focus on transport, residential and commercial housing and agriculture, sectors where it is much more difficult and costly to reduce emissions.
  • Lack of legislation implementation and legislation shortcomings: Some organisations have criticized the Energy Transition Act and the absence of energy saving objectives for 2030, which were in the initial draft version. They also reproached the law for not having set a deadline for the reduction of nuclear energy by 50%. They claim that the Energy Transition Act will only be effective if the government keeps its commitments including on the most problematic topics. The multiannual energy programming (PPE), which should articulate the main objectives of the energy policy and translate them into a concrete roadmap until 2018 and then 2023, is still not very clear and lacks coherency on the key issues like the evolution of the nuclear power plants. Moreover, the content of several implementing decrees do not effectively show the affects of the legislative provisions that are intended to be more ambitious (e.g. combatting energy precariousness). To be entirely effective the Energy Transition Act needs to be fully implemented by the Government and relevant decrees with necessary provisions need to be adopted. Otherwise this Act will only remain an ambitious legislative text on paper.
  • Lack of political coherency and clear political commitment: Decisions taken by the government can sometime appear contradictory on certain aspects of GHG emission reduction. For example, the government promotes clean mobility but at the same time it supports infrastructure projects that, to the contrary, will lead to an increase of road and air transport. There is also a positive commitment from the government on the end of public support for coal energy (if there is no technology based on CO2 capture and storage). However, the role of France within the OECD and the G7 on the coal question still needs to be clarified. France proposes as well to postpone the reform of energy taxation at the EU level to avoid the end of fossil fuel subsidies. Moreover, just before the COP21, the Ministry of sustainable development issued three new research permits for hydrocarbons. It has also been very much criticised that EDF and Engie, two companies partially owned by the State, sponsored the COP 21 despite the fact that their coal power stations are responsible for more than half of France’s GHG emissions. This lack of coherency can be mainly explained by the difficulty to balance economic interests with environmental conservation. France, as do most countries, struggles to find the right balance to ensure that its development remains sustainable.
  • Difficulties to change people behaviour: promoting clean mobility means convincing the population to change their habits and switch from using their cars to public transport or using bikes. This is slowly happening in France but the great majority of people have difficulties to renounce the use of their cars. To achieve this change, there is a need to raise awareness in the population (e.g. a communication campaign) and to provide incentives to ensure that people will embrace this change (e.g. economic incentives and measures supporting the use of public transport). In France, trains remain and are seen as quite expensive and often people consider it more advantageous to travel by car, especially now that petrol is quite cheap.

–Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Charline Gaudin


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