What should France do?

1

Enhance NDC to be 1.5 degree aligned by COP26:

  • Increase national GHG emission reduction target for 2030 using the new EU target as a floor. Use the Climate Law (passing through Parliament in April-June) to rectify current trajectory
  • Implement key recommendations of the High Council on Climate Change (HCC)
  • Translate into the law and without filter the key recommendations of the Citizens’ Convention on Climate
  • End direct support for fossil fuel projects overseas at an earlier date
2

Build a just and resilient recovery plan:

  • Scale up the share of the French recovery plan earmarked for climate investments to 37% and biodiversity investments to 10% , instead of the current 30%
  • Exclude supports for new nuclear, non-renewable hydrogen, combustion vehicles from the recovery plan
  • Stop unconditional public supports to the private sector, as some public funding could support the recovery of environmentally harmful activities

What you need to know about France?

  • France included the 2050 carbon neutrality objective in its 2019 Climate and Energy Law, in line with its long term strategy. However, its 2030 emissions reduction target remains insufficient, at -40% compared to 1990
  • Since 2015, France has consistently exceeded its emission reduction targets (by 2,7% in 2019). Main sources of emissions remain the building sector (18.7% of GHG emissions), transport sector (30.7%), agriculture (19.2%)
  • Green investments (public/private) reached €43.7bn in 2017 and €45.7bn in 2018, but an additional €15 to 18bn yearly are needed to be in line with a carbon neutrality pathway
Recovery Measures to Highlight

  • France’s recovery plan includes €100 billion of spending over 2 years (2020-2022) with 30bn in green investments
  • However at least €22bn could support dirty investments
  • Flagship measures include investments at scale in the building sector (retrofitting of private housing) and transport sector (support to the railway industry, EVs, bike plan)

Recent developments, threats and levers for action

Recent developments

  • Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, citizen’s level of awareness and concern for the environment have never been so high in opinion polls
  • The Citizen’s Convention on Climate released its recommendations in June 2020, which now have to be translated into a law by the end of 2020. Questions remain on the extent to which the measures put forward will be adopted without filter
  • The election of pro-climate mayors in French cities last June remains an opportunity to showcase the benefits of climate action at the local level. The upcoming regional elections in 2021 and presidential election in 2022 will be a test to assess whether this trend is confirmed
  • On 3 September 2020, the French government released the details of the French recovery plan. In total, the plan announces €100 billion of spending over 2 years (2020-2022). If implemented along with the right environmental and social safeguards, it has the potential to accelerate the reduction of GHG emissions at the national level. The Package offers generous incentives to EVs seeking to turn French as the leading EV manufacturer in EU

Strengths

  • Initial version of the French recovery plan with 30bn earmarked for green investments
  • Pro-climate mayors in major French cities
  • Strong level of awareness of French citizens

Opportunities

  • Upcoming regional elections in 2021 and presidential and parliamentary ones in 2022
  • Climate law going through Parliament to translate CCC measures
  • Upcoming IUCN and Finance in Common summits, in lead up to UNFCCC COP26 and CBD COP15, are opportunities for France to show leadership and solidarity international, especially on climate, biodiversity and finance
  • France will also hold the EU Presidency, starting in January 2022; at a time when major policies on the implementation of the European Green Deal are expected to land. This will also be an opportunity for France to affirm a strong stance on the need to align trade policies with climate, social and biodiversity objectives

Weaknesses

  • Government reshuffle in July 2020, with little interest for climate from new ministers

Threats

  • Rollback on the government’s promise to adopt the CCC’s measure without filter
  • Growing push back on environmental measures due to economic crisis
  • Social tensions due to the crisis and lack of social justice measures

About Climate Diplomacy Snapshots

The data is clear. Accelerated and enhanced action is needed now to build resilience and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. As they seek to address the ongoing health, economic and social impacts of COVID-19, governments should seize opportunities to invest in a recovery that will build social, economic and climate resilience on the long-term.The Climate Diplomacy Snapshots aim to provide the climate community with a clear overview of what each country should do, on climate and recovery, to pursue these joint objectives and keep the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C. Each has been prepared with the help of national experts, and will be regularly updated. The snapshots aim to support climate advocacy in the lead up to COP26.

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