France tables 2050 carbon-neutral law

(Climate Change News, 8 Feb 2019) The French government has proposed legislation committing the country to carbon-neutrality by 2050.

The changes would expand the role of nuclear energy and drop concrete emissions targets for the middle of the century, raising concerns among environmentalists.

A proposal was sent to the economic, social and environmental council on 7 February. A copy was published by environment news site Reporterre.

If the bill is adopted, France would:

  • Drop its 2050 goal of lowering greenhouse gas emissions to a quarter of 1990 levels, in favour of a target of carbon neutrality by 2050
  • Postpone a goal to reduce the share of nuclear power from 75% today to 50%, from 2025 to 2035
  • Walk back a commitment to reduce national energy consumption. The target of cutting energy consumption by 20% by 2030 is replaced with 17%. The final goal of slashing energy use by 50% by 2050 remains untouched
  • Hike a target to reduce the proportion of energy powered by fossil fuels by 30% by 2030 to 40%
The bill, which could undergo amendments, is to be submitted to the ministers’ council in March and to parliament in April.

Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation, tweeted that she was “delighted to see the 2050 carbon neutrality target appear in the law”, but that the policies to reach the goal remained undefined.

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Climate Change News, 8 Feb 2019: France tables 2050 carbon-neutral law