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France Sectors

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

France’s transport emissions have decreased by 10% since 1990 to 125 MtCO₂e in 2019. The number of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) in France’s light vehicle fleet has grown exponentially over the past decade but its share still remains low at only 1.4% (or 450,000 vehicles) of total fleet in 2021.4

Our analysis of 1.5°C compatible pathways indicates that CO₂ emissions will need to fall to 55 MtCO₂e (or 56% compared to 2019 levels) by 2030. The sector could be fully decarbonised between 2047 and 2050.

Following the EU’s new phase-out date of 2035 for internal combustion engine vehicles, France will need to update its national target year of 2040.17 Electrification is one of the main drivers of the transport sector decarbonisation. Our analysis show that to be 1.5°C compatible, the share of electricity in transport will need to increase from 2% in 2019 to 11–46% by 2030.

Through its long-term strategy, France has indicated that it will increase both the energy performance of its vehicle fleet in line with EU standards and the amount of renewable energy to power electric vehicles. The government has introduced several incentives, including tax exemptions, to promote the uptake of electric vehicles. However, some of these benefits are extended to alternative fuel vehicles such as those powered by compressed natural gas (CNG).18 Incentivising use of gas would risk carbon lock-in and jeopardise the achievement of overall decarbonisation.

The French government also plans to incentivise a modal shift by increasing public transport use by 7% between 2015 and 2050. This will include improving rail network performance for passenger and freight transport.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. (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 – (2022).

18 ACEA. Electric vehicles: Tax benefits and purchase incentives in the 27 member states of the European Union. (2022).

Franceʼs energy mix in the transport sector

petajoule per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
Low energy demand
20192030204020501 0001 500
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
  • Natural gas
  • Coal
  • Oil and e-fuels
  • Biomass
  • Biogas
  • Biofuel
  • Electricity
  • Heat
  • Hydrogen

Franceʼs transport sector direct CO₂ emissions (of energy demand)


  • Historical emissions
  • High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 High CDR reliance
  • Low energy demand

1.5°C compatible transport sector benchmarks

Direct CO₂ emissions and shares of electricity, biofuels and hydrogen in the transport final energy demand from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for France

Decarbonised transport sector by
Direct CO₂ emissions
20 to 22
0 to 7
2047 to 2050
Relative to reference year in %
−57 to −56%
−84 to −83%
−100 to −94%
Share of electricity
11 to 46
29 to 67
35 to 76
Share of biofuels
17 to 26
21 to 39
21 to 52
Share of hydrogen
9 to 40
22 to 43