France is behind on its path towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to a parliamentary report adopted on Wednesday in which implementing a “real ecological planning” was also recommended.
The report is based on a “flash” information mission that was entrusted to Renaissance MP Laurence Heydel Grillère and right-wing Les Républicains MP Antoine Vermorel-Marques aimed to assess France’s progress in relation to the objectives laid out in the Paris Agreement – namely keeping global average temperatures below two degrees and limiting the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
France has endorsed the EU 2030 target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels, the report’s co-rapporteurs, Vermorel-Marques and Grillère, pointed out.
It has also respected its obligation to report on how it is faring on climate protection under the Paris Climate Agreement, they added.
Lagging and lack of public debate
But “France is lagging in its emissions reduction trajectory”, meaning catching up will require an “acceleration of the rate of decline” of -4.7% on average per year. And this is to “stay within the Paris Agreement”, explained Vermorel-Marques on France Inter.
This is confirmed by figures recorded by the French public organisation counting France’s GHG emissions, Citepa, at the start of April – even though the High Climate Council (HCC) concluded in June 2022 that France had met its national objectives under its National Low Carbon Strategy which are not in line with EU targets.
On top of that, the parliamentary report did not consider emissions from international air and maritime transport but noted that they “have increased by almost 50% since 1990”.
The co-rapporteurs also deplored the lack of public debate on climate issues, arguing that the work of the HCC is not visible enough and that local and national elected representatives are not sufficiently trained in climate issues.
We need to “give visibility to companies and local authorities who need to know, ten years from now, where we are heading”, Vermorel-Marques told France Inter.
‘Real ecological planning’
But not all is lost.
According to the two rapporteur MPs, ” there needs to be “a strategy of ecological planning that makes it possible to set objectives, to update them and determine the means necessary to achieve them.”
The report also recommends strengthening parliament’s role with an annual debate, adopting a multiannual ecological planning law, and boosting the knowledge of MPs on such matters. The report also proposes to have all relevant stakeholders participate in an “environmental dialogue” to strengthen citizen participation.
Because of France’s poor record, the state risks “a new condemnation” for climate inaction, like in February 2021 when the Paris Administrative recognised the state’s “culpable failings” in the fight against global warming.
[Paul Messad contributed to this article]
(Theo Bourgery | EURACTIV.fr)