Twenty years combating global warming in france: public policy assessment and outlook
Type of text :
Opinion and report
Type of referral :
Working group :
Section for Environment
Date adopted : 04/29/2015
Environment and nature group
Global emissions of the six greenhouse gasses (GHG) have increased by 80% since 1970 and by 30% since 1990. The IPCC predicts global warming scenarios ranging between + 1.8° C and + 6.4° C by 2100. To prevent major repercussions for human society and ecosystems this increase must be limited to + 2° C. Accordingly, emissions must be swiftly and sharply reduced.
In the EU, total GHG emissions fell by 19% between 1990 and 2012. In France, the decline, started in 2000 was - 13% for the same period. However, the carbon footprint of French citizens has increased between 1990 and 2007.
Reducing GHG involves a number of factors. Efforts to reduce GHG means changes to jobs, qualifications, and work organisation. In a globalised economy, this may penalise certain sectors in the short term. Ecosystems restoration plays a role in combating global warming.
In 2005, France set itself the goal of a fourfold reduction in its GHG emissions by 2050. The ESEC supports this goal. Achieving it requires a method. This is currently being worked on. The draft legislation on energy transition sets in place a low-carbon strategy and five-yearly "carbon budgets".
Climate policy, which is closely linked to energy policy, cannot be limited to these measures alone, just as it cannot be limited to CO2. It must include other major non-energy emissions sectors.
The circle of actors implicated is steadily growing wider. The interest shown in energy issues, the setting in place of economic incentives and also the international dynamic and the increasing power of environmental dialogue have led the majority of civil society organisations to embrace the climate issue.
The majority of economic sectors are now involved in steps to combat climate change, with each sector serving as a specific source of GHG emissions reduction.
Local governments have progressively taken the issue on board. In 2009, local and regional climate change policies began to be implemented on a massive scale. This has made possible the sustainable local actions needed in order to change behaviours.
French society must go beyond the awareness stage and scale up its response capabilities. It therefore appears that the supporting of change is a priority.
Global warming is redistributing the playing cards. France is among the leading nations in the reduction of its GHG emissions. In the race to combat climate change, it has good reason to remain one of the leaders.
The COP 21 Forum is an exceptional opportunity to stimulate climate change policy in France, while ensuring that the momentum continues beyond 2015.