Franceʼs total GHG emissions
excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr
- 1.5°C compatible pathways
- Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
- Current policy projections
- 1.5°C emissions range
- Historical emissions
France has a national target to reduce emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. This target translates to limiting emissions levels to 329 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, excluding LULUCF.1
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 Dugast, C. & Joly, A. Depuis sa condamnation, l’État français s’est-il donné les moyens de son ambition climat ? (2022).
4 IEA. Global EV Data Explorer – Data Tools – IEA. (2022).
5 Haut Conseil pour le Climat. Agir en cohérence avec les ambitions. Rapport annuel 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 Kinley, R. It’s time for Macron to revive French leadership on EU climate goals. Energy Monitor (2022).
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. https://www.latribune.fr/entreprises-finance/industrie/energie-environnement/la-france-ne-sortira-finalement-pas-du-charbon-en-2022-888636.html (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).
17 Euractiv. EU nations approve end to combustion engine sales by 2035 – EURACTIV.com. (2022).
18 ACEA. Electric vehicles: Tax benefits and purchase incentives in the 27 member states of the European Union. (2022).
France needs more stringent policies, notably in the transport and buildings sectors, the country’s largest emitting sectors, to get on track to meeting a Paris compatible pathway.
A full fair share contribution to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions compatible with the Paris Agreement would require France to go further than its domestic emissions target, and provide substantial support for emission reductions to developing countries on top of its domestic reductions.
Net zero GHG
France’s long-term strategy sets a target of reaching net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. The target includes sinks from the land sector of around -80 MtCO₂e/yr to balance the remaining emissions from other sectors, mostly agriculture. France’s net zero target was passed into law in 2019.
Our analysis shows that for France to be 1.5°C compatible, the country’s emissions would need to be 89% below 1990 levels by 2050. This equals to emissions levels of 61 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050, excluding LULUCF.
- France already has a relatively low emitting power sector. However, 1.5°C compatible pathways show the need to reduce the sector’s carbon intensity by 75% below 2019 levels by 2030.
- The power sector decarbonisation would need to be driven by a gas phase-out between 2035 and 2038 and a coal phase-out which should have happened already in 2020. While France had announced a coal phase-out by 2022, in August 2021, the government decided to keep one power plant running at 10% capacity, effectively postponing the phase-out to between 2024 and 2026. More recently, the government reopened one coal power plant, using the current fossil energy crisis as a justification.
• Robust policies to drive the development of renewables will be key in France’s energy transition as the country also aims to reduce its reliance on nuclear in power generation to 50% by 2035, compared to 75% in 2019.
• Our analysis of 1.5°C compatible pathways for France indicate that renewables could generate 60–85% of electricity by 2030. In 2021, the share of renewable energy in the country’s power mix was 24%.
- Emissions from the residential and commercial buildings have declined by 40% since 1990. The sector emitted 62 MtCO₂e in 2019.
- Given that by 2050 70% of the existing building stock in France could be made of buildings built prior to 2012,1 rapid renovations as well as regulatory standards for new buildings will be needed in the coming decade.3
- To be compatible with 1.5°C pathways, France will need to increase the share of electricity in the building sector from 43% currently to 65% in 2030. The sector could be fully decarbonised between 2035 and 2044.
- Emissions from industrial processes and energy demand in the industry sector fell by 40% and 33%, respectively, between 1990 and 2019. Key emitting sub-sectors include chemicals, metals and construction materials.
- To be compatible with 1.5°C pathways, direct CO₂ emissions from the industry sector will need to be further reduced by 42-47% and 83-100%, respectively, by 2030 and by 2050, from 2019 levels.
- Much of the emissions reductions will need to come from increasing the shares of electricity, hydrogen and biomass to 48–61% by 2030 and 72–85% by 2050 from 2019 levels.
- France aims to reduce emissions from transport – its most emitting sector – by 28% below 2015 levels by 2030 and fully decarbonise the sector by 2050. To be in line with 1.5°C pathways increase the share of electricity in the transport sector from 2% in 2019 to 11–46% by 2030.
- To incentivise a modal shift in transport, the government need to increase investments in and adopt more measures to promote rail travel and cycling.3