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Current situation

What is Franceʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Emissions profile

The largest share of emissions came from the energy sector in 2018 (70% of emissions altogether) – with the transport (29% of total GHG emissions) being the largest contributor, followed by industry (21% accounting for both energy and processes) and buildings (18%). Agriculture accounts for 16% of total GHG emissions in 2018. France’s power sector is relatively low emitting (9% of its total) due to its high share of nuclear power generation.

In 2018, almost half (45%) of agricultural emissions were methane resulting from enteric fermentation, followed by nitrous oxide emissions from cultivated soils.5

France’s policies are not sufficient to meet its economy wide target of 40% below 1990 level, which itself should be enhanced to at least align with the EU’s updated NDC or its fair share of the 1.5°C goal. The country did not meet its first carbon budget for the period 2015-2018, exceeding it by 65 MtCO₂e cumulatively.

Its revised National Carbon Strategy reduced the ambition of the second carbon budget covering the period 2019-2023.6,7 This means that the country will need to accelerate its emissions reductions to reduce by 3% per year from 2021 to 2023 and by 3.3% per year during the third carbon budget to make up this delay and achieve the needed emissions reductions.8 In addition, France was ordered by court to compensate 15 MtCO₂e for budget overshoot.

1 Ministère de la Transition écologique et solidaire. La transition écologique et solidaire vers la neutralité carbone. (2020).

2 Conseil d’Etat. Émissions de gaz à effet de serre : le Conseil d’État enjoint au Gouvernement de prendre des mesures supplémentaires avant le 31 mars 2022. (2021).

3 Observatoire Climat Energie. Transports – OBSERVATOIRE CLIMAT-ÉNERGIE. (2019).

4 Haut Conseil pour le Climat. Agir en cohérence avec les ambitions. Premier Rapport Annuel Du Haut Conseil Pour Le Climat. (2019).

5 Haut Conseil pour le Climat. Agir en cohérence avec les ambitions. Rapp. Annu. Neutralité Carbone (2019).

6 Government of France. National Climate and Energy Plan. (2020).

7 Ministère de l’Écologie. The Ecological and Inclusive Transition Towards Carbon Neutrality. 1–29 (2018).

8 Haut Conseil pour le Climat. Renforcer L’Attenuation , Engager L’Adaptation. Rapport Annuel 2021. (2021).

9 International Energy Agency database. Energy Data and Statistics. (2021). supply&indicator=TPESbySource

10 Ministère de la Transition Ecologique. Les énergies renouvelables en France en 2020 – Suivi de la directive 2009/28/CE relative à la promotion de l’utilisation des énergies renouvelables | Données et études statistiques. (2021).

11 European Commission. Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council, (…) as regards the promotion of energy from renewable sources (…). (2021).

12 Legifrance. LOI n° 2015-992 du 17 août 2015 relative à la transition énergétique pour la croissance verte (1) – Légifrance.(2015).

13 Ministère de la Transition écologique. Loi de transition énergétique pour la croissance verte | Ministère de la Transition écologique. (2015).

14 La Tribune. La France ne sortira finalement pas du charbon en 2022 : la reconversion de la centrale EDF de Cordemais est abandonnée. (2021).

15 Haut Conseil pour le Climat. Rapport annuel 2021. (2021).

16 Ministère de la Transition écologique. Plan de rénovation énergétique des bâtiments | Ministère de la Transition écologique. (2021).

Franceʼs current GHG emissions

MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values

By sector

  • Other
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Buildings
  • Transport
  • Power
  • Industry (energy use)
  • Waste
  • Industry (processes)
  • Agriculture
  • LULUCF
Energy (68%)⟵ LULUCF negative emissions

By gas

  • CO₂
  • CH₄
  • N₂O
  • Other
072%0

Sectors by gas

Energy
093%0
Agriculture
095%0
Industry (processes)
063%0

Energy system

In 2019, nuclear and oil accounted for almost 70% of the country’s total energy supply, with most of the electricity generated by nuclear power, and transport sector mostly fuelled by oil.9 Natural gas accounts for around 15% of total primary energy supply, with most of it consumed by buildings and industry.9 France has a target to increase five times the amount of district heating and cooling from renewable energy in heat networks by 2030 , from current levels, however there is lack of clarity on whether the country is set to meet this target or not.7 Government has a target to reduce nuclear generated electricity to a 50% share by 2035.7

While the French government has committed to shutting down coal power plants by 2022 and to not authorise any new power stations, it has recently revised its plan to keep one power plant running at 10% capacity “to ensure network stability” which is likely to postpone the actual coal phase-out date to 2024 or 2026]

Under the EU Renewable Energy Directive (Directive (EU) 2018/200), France did not meet its 2020 renewable energy target of 23% of final energy generation, only reaching 19.1% in 2020.10 If the “Fit for 55” policy package is adopted, as proposed in July 2021, the country will need to implement stringent policies to deploy renewable energies to meet its updated 2030 target of 55.6% of renewable energy by 2030.11

Targets and commitments

Economy-wide targets

Target type

Base year emissions target

National target

  • 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 (excl. LULUCF).1

Market mechanism

  • No market mechanism.

Long-term target

France submitted its Long-Term Strategy to the UNFCCC.“https://unfccc.int/process/the-paris-agreement/long-term-strategies It aims at “carbon neutrality” by 2050, which it defined as a net zero target for all GHG for 2050. “France’s long term goal was passed into law in 2019. GHG emissions should be shrunk by a factor 6 compared to 1990 (over 83% reduction) and reach about 80 MtCO₂e of emissions, to be balanced by the LULUCF sector by 2050.1

Sector coverage

EnergyIndustryWasteAgriculture

Greenhouse gas coverage

CO₂CH₄NF₃HFCsN₂OSF₆

Sectoral targets

Energy

Directive (EU) 2018/2001:

  • 23% share of renewable energy in final energy consumption by 2020 and 32% by 2030.6
  • Updated (Fit for 55 EU package): 55.6% by 2030.

Loi Transition Energétique pour la Croissance Verte (LTECV) and Low Carbon National Strategy (SNBC):

Buildings

  • 49% GHG emissions reduction by 2030 and 94% by 2050 below 2015 levels excl. LULUCF.1 Does not consider ‘incompressible’ gases in its strategy such as fluoride gas or residual gas from air transport.
  • Tertiary buildings with floor area above 1000m² have energy saving target of 40% by 2030.1
  • 500,000 thermal renovations annually between 2015-2030 (at least 370,000 from 2022) and 700,000 for 2030-2050.1,15
  • 15% reduction in final energy consumption from the building sector by 2028 compared to 2010 levels.16
  • Minimum of 370,000 complete renovations per year from 2022.1

Agriculture

  • 18% GHG emissions reduction by 2030 and 46% by 2050 below 2015 levels excl. LULUCF.1
  • Carbon budgets set:
    • 2019-2023: 82 MtCO₂e from which CH₄: 37 MtCO₂e and N₂O: 35 MtCO₂e.1
    • 2024-2028: 77 MtCO2e from which CH₄: 34 MtCO₂e and N₂O: 33 MtCO₂e.1
    • 2029-2033: 72 MtCO₂e from which CH₄: 32 MtCO₂e and N₂O: 31 MtCO₂e.1

Power

  • Installed renewable energy capacity to be doubled from 2017 by 2028, about 101-113 GW by 2028,6 and renewable energy generation to reach 40% of total electricity production by 2030.13
  • Coal-fired power plants mandated to shut down by 2022.6 Revised in 2021 to keep one power plant running 10% capacity.14
  • Share of nuclear in electricity generation at 50% by 2035.1

Transport

  • 100,000 recharging stations available for public by 2023.6
  • 28% reduction of emissions over 2015-2030 and 100% by 2050.1
  • Increase internal combustion engine efficiency to 4L/100km by 2030 in real conditions, and 12.5 kWh/100km for Electric Vehicle by 2050.1
  • 100% of light transport vehicles to be zero emissions by 2040.1
    • 50% biofuels for aviation in 2050.1
    • 12% of bicycle use in modal share by 2030 and 15% by 2050.1
    • Develop domestic maritime transport, to be decarbonised by 2050.1

Industry

  • 35% GHG emissions reduction by 2030 and 81% by 2050 below 2015 levels.1
  • 41% electrification of the industry sector by 2015 and 70% by 2050 in final consumption.1

Waste

  • 100% recycling rate for plastic by 2025.6
  • The strategy aims to reduce the sector’s emissions by 37% in 2030 compared to 2015 and by 66% by 2050.1
  • 50% reduction in non-hazardous waste volume in landfill compared to 2010 volume by 2025.6

LULUCF

  • Increasing forestry emissions sinks by 87% compared to its reference scenario (with around -60 MtCO₂e/yr in 2050, compared to -30 MtCO₂e/yr in 2050 under the reference scenario).1
  • Carbon budgets set:
    • 2019-2023: -38 MtCO₂e.1
    • 2024-2028: -36 MtCO₂e.1
    • 2029-2033: -41 MtCO₂e.1
  • France’s forest law from 2014 pursues sustainable forestry management, and its National Strategy to Combat Imported Deforestation (November 2018) aims to put an end to deforestation caused by importation of unsustainable forest and agricultural products by 2030.1

Footnotes